I just navigated away from the Google homepage in order to start writing this post immediately. Or perhaps I should rephrase that by saying that I was scared away and that my wordpress blog just became my “safe zone”.
What brought me here is this: I was obviously attempting to enter a search term for something when I made the observation that the “predictive text?” field of websites below was giving immediate up- to-the-second results. For example, if I enter my name into the search bar, I get the following top results as I type: J.C. Penny, Java, James Franco, James Franco, James Franco, James Renner, James Ritty, and finally I get “me” (James “AC Jimbo” Richardson– A television presenter and journalist).
Then suddenly, I had a realization…the realization that my keystrokes are being monitored in some form and that someone or at least something which at least someone could probably get access to, is “watching” everything that I now type into the search box.
WHY I just made this observation is beyond me. Nor do I know how long Google has had this particular feature. (I suspect that it has been some time) I do know however, that it wasn’t ALWAYS like this.
Now, am I really all that concerned by what I make of this feature? Yes and No.
Think of spyware. We all know that it’s bad. Therefore we run programs to detect and remove all forms of it. Many forms of which, are of the keystroke reading variety. And so essentially, what is NOT OKAY over here, is accepted as the “norm” over here because it’s understood to be more convenient and user-friendly
Say for instance, that I get into an altercation with the neighbor next door. An explicit shouting match about the “mess” that his dog had left on my neatly manicured lawn. I’m angry and upset (and not being a fan of physical altercations) I storm away, red-faced with rage, seeking the comfort of my home and the solace of the internet. I open internet explorer to the default Google homepage and pose the question,”How can i hire a hit-man?” Clearly, I know that it’s a totally unethical and irrational thought and that I would NEVER so much as even wish someone were dead. But I “throw it out there” anyway and I now feel a whole lot better. I never press “enter”, and instead, I navigate to Facebook ,change my status to “NEIGHBORS SUCK!” and spend the next two hours giving 30 word fragments of the “official story” in my comments section. Finally, I eat some dinner, watch the newest episodes of South park and Tosh.0 and call it a night.
Then, five hours and forty-two minutes later, the phone rings. It’s the F.B.I.. They want to ask me a few questions…
Okay, so perhaps that’s really stretching things. I pray that I truly am, but it is possible and that’s a scary thought. More and more we are being tracked and monitored in all aspects of our lives. Our Cell Phones are equipped with G.P.S. and know where we are at all times. Even when it’s turned off, triangulation could be used to locate you. I’ve recently read articles which make the claim that, supposedly, there lies embedded in the “code” of pictures sent from your phone information which can give out your specific coordinates. Websites, especially from social networks, as most people are well aware of, use your hobbies, interests, key words and etc. in order to give you “selective” advertising. Smart phones with predictive text replace your actual words with the words that it thinks you actually meant to say; Half the time with humorous, embarrassing, or unwanted results.
Point in case though, I don’t like it. I know it’s a minor thing and chances are good that after I post this I won’t even think about these things anymore. But that also just goes to show how much a part of our everyday lives that these sorts of things are becoming and/or how accepting we are of the technologies that are both invasive, unnecessary. I mean, just how lazy do they think people are that they can’t so much as press one extra button in order to “enter”?