Archives

THE BUSINESS DESK

Business news from the Fredericksburg region.

Share
RSS feed of this blog

TECH TOYS: What would George Orwell think of the new Gmail update?

Google is worried about its Orwellian image.

But in this, the 30th anni-versary of the year 1984, it keeps doing things that would make George Orwell cringe.

I’m not fretting much about my Gmail being scanned—I’ve figured for years, long before anyone heard of Edward Snowden, that everything was being scanned by the NSA for key words that send up an antenna.

But I’m not overthrowing anything aside from my son in a game of catch in the backyard. And I try not to send emails that admit things like, “My column really BOMBED this week,” even though it did.

The Google Gestapo promises it won’t be kicking anyone’s door down as a result of the scans—at least not this week. But it will be waterboarding us with ads.

This week the tech giant updated its Gmail terms of service, probably in response to a California lawsuit. The updated terms explained that the scans analyze our personal content “to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising and spam and malware detection.”

Oh, OK. Gee, thanks. So Google is really like your mom—an enormous, all-powerful multibillionaire mom who’s reading your mail and trying to sell you stuff 200 times a day.

Lately, some people wearing Google Glass have been getting some ugly reactions in public because others are concerned that they’re being spied on by Glass’ ability to shoot video and photos without warning. You don’t have to hold it up like your phone to do that. You just have to look.

And Google is promising that it won’t allow Glass facial recognition apps that tap into Google tell the wearer who someone is, who they work for, what football team they like, when was the last time they changed their underwear and things like that. That’s the only reason I’d want to buy Google Glass, but Google is worried about the perception it’s the world’s No. 1 corporate voyeur.

This goes back to Google Earth looking down on us from orbit. That doesn’t bother me, but Street View does creep me out.

That’s why this week’s news that Google seems to be looking at the possibility of producing contact lenses with tiny cameras in them is hard to understand.

Patent Bolt reported that Google has filed patents for micro-cameras to be part of a smart contact lens—essentially Google Glass that attaches directly to users’ eyeballs and is undetectable. Photos might be taken literally with the blink of an eye, Patent Bolt reports.

So if you go into a bar after Google Eyeball is introduced, try not to blink your eyes too much or you may get punched in the eye.

Michael Zitz lives in Spotsylvania County.

mzbeckham@gmail.com

 

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/business/2014/04/19/what-would-orwell-think-of-the-new-gmail-update/