My Gripes About Google and Google+

No matter what your job is, your tools should work for you, not against you.

As a writer, I research my stories, which means I spend a lot of time searching the Internet. For that, I need a reliable search engine. Until recently, that engine was Google until it became unreliable to get me the results I needed. The problem with Google is it’s geared to sell us things instead of searching for information like it used to do. So I deleted it and, on the advice from a good friend, I installed Ixquick’s search engine. It isn’t the best search engine, but it does the job of finding information without tracking my usage and storing it in a huge database for all the racketeers wanting to sell me their wares. That’s what online stores are for. If I want to buy something, I will choose to go to a store, thank you very much. So Google, get off our backs, leave us alone, and go back to being a search engine that doesn’t spy on us!

And Google does spy … and pry. What is the purpose of putting an automatic geolocation on its search engine if the company isn’t spying and prying personal information about its users?

Sadly, I’m becoming less a fan of anything Google does. I especially don’t care for their Google+ site because, well, I’m not sure of its purpose. Is it a social gathering? If it is, we have Facebook for that. Is it a place to call and/or web chat with people? Isn’t that what Skype does? Just what is Google+’s purpose other than prying into our private lives?

A few people have told me that Google+ is for following live streams of real people in real industries and communities that interest me.

Why would live streams about writing and art be more important to me than if I were to watch recorded videos?

Others have told me that Google+ is simply a business venture on Google’s part for better grouping people and businesses into SEOs (Search Engine Optimizations/Optimizers), affecting a website’s or a web page’s visibility in a search engine’s (Google’s?) unpaid results. Seems like a way of better singling out their users after grouping them by size, weight and color.

As I said, I don’t understand Google+’s purpose … and probably I never will, though I’m inclined to believe it helps Google collect plenty of information about us. I don’t know about you, but I like some anonymity when I’m on the Internet. Less chance of scrupulous hackers and criminals getting their hands on my private data and hack my computer … or worse, hack my online business accounts.

Still, Google+ is a tool I use to keep fans abreast of news about my books. This blog is connected to Google+, so news about my books (and this rant) reaches the audience there. That’s why I keep it … for now. As it stands, very few people I know at Google+ buy my books or even comment about them.

By Google+’s rapid decline of being useful to me, I expect to stop using it soon. Unfortunately, it’s that tool I cannot throw away entirely because it’s connected to a tool that’s useful: YouTube. I don’t like that Google took over YouTube and synched it with Google+. When I sign into my YouTube account, there are times when I don’t want connected to Google+. I liked the older days when I was CampbellArtist at YouTube. It gave me the anonymity I mentioned earlier. Does everyone who watches my YouTube videos need to know my real name, where I work at, what schools I attended, and what my home address and phone number are? Google is doing a great job of taking away our privacy.

Until I can find a way to amputate Google+ from YouTube, I’m stuck with the pretentious social media failure … and using it as little as possible.

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