As Google marches forward in its quest for global domination I’ve been putting forth an effort to transfer some non-essential services elsewhere. My e-mail service is not going anywhere soon but something less crucial is my Google Reader account.
After finding several services that charged for more than 20 RSS feeds I came upon FeedDemon. I think I found it through a Lifehacker post. This post also lead me to a Hive Five for feed readers (Hive Five is Lifehacker’s Top 5 contest). In this contest Google Reader garnered the most votes with FeedDemon being an admittedly distant second.
Here’s a brief synopsis of my discoveries after using FeedDemon:
From this experience I’ve come to the conclusion that if you seek a single RSS reader then the key will come down to synchronization or not. With one computer and no need to sync FeedDemon easily comes out on top but when synchronization becomes an issue Google Reader is the way to go.
Some other considerations might be whether you prefer web applications versus desktop applications. This could make a difference if you are on a netbook for example. I listed it in both Pros and Cons because even for a desktop computer it can be a boon as well as an inconvenience.
Setting aside a desire to use a single feed reader FeedDemon makes it easy to enjoy the desktop experience while also being able to use the web option. I think this is a great option for those who are interested.
Thinking about privacy issues though I recently found an interesting predicament. When it comes to groups online (such as Google) is it better to have information spread out all over the internet or stored with a single group? That is, if I searched the web with Bing, got e-mail with Yahoo e-mail, watched videos with DailyMotion, and so on is my information better off than if I used Google for all those things (search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.)?
Apparently in the year 2010 Google flexed its financial muscle and spent 1.6 billion dollars on 40 companies. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue because after all I use Google products and services for practically everything: e-mail, calendaring, searching, reading RSS feeds, and browsing the web. But then I think about how I’m using Google products and services for practically everything: e-mail, calendaring, searching, reading RSS feeds, and browsing the web.
The repetition is not accidental. I’ve sometimes thought about this and it is unsettling. Google’s creed might be “Do No Evil” but even the best of intentions can turn sour quickly. Outside of intentions service outages can cause problems if I am Google-dependent and Google is down. And finally there are privacy issues with one entity knowing practically everything about me.
As long as Google does a decent job this should never be an issue but with people’s lives increasingly becoming affected by the internet the issues become more significant with every second that passes. Eventually legislation will catch up to the internet and provide a foundation on which justice can be defined on the web but until then the onus is on us – the users of the internet – to keep ourselves safe.
To that extent my goal is to move non-essential things off of Google. For example there was a time in which I had a blog on Blogger but I’ve now moved/graduated (however you want to look at it) to WordPress. I’m looking for a RSS feed reader that is not Google Reader. And I can use Firefox as a browser (I still prefer Chrome though…). I can use a different search engine and use Google to double-check if the other one doesn’t suffice. The few things that I can’t easily move is e-mail and calendar.
It’s daunting though! To alter a way of life on the internet is difficult and energy-intensive. Perhaps that’s why Google is and will continue to be successful.
I hope Google never becomes evil.
My first response when I heard about Google TV was expecting to see another website like YouTube or Hulu. However I finally decided to investigate a bit and see what the buzz on Google News’ Sci./Tech. page was. First I checked out Google TV’s blog and read some blurbs from the development project manager. One paragraph goes like this:
One of our goals with Google TV is to finally open up the living room and enable new innovation from content creators, programmers, developers and advertisers. By bringing Google Chrome and access to the entire Internet, you can easily navigate to thousands of websites to watch your favorite web videos, play Flash games, view photos, read movie reviews or chat with friends—all on the big screen.
At first it seems just like turning the living room TV into a computer. Then I realized that it was.
It could be that I’m predominantly archaic in my thinking because I grew up right as computers were becoming ubiquitous and I don’t think that everything should have access to everything that a computer can. I think however that I have reasonable evidence that I can accept innovations. For example, take the Xbox Live features added over the years. When social elements were added on top of the basic matchmaking functionality in the original Xbox’s Live system that was a step forward. When Xbox Live added Facebook integration I was not enthused. Similarly I don’t particularly feel the need for a browser on my TV especially when I already have a desktop, a laptop, a phone with internet access, and the potential to have an iPad, an iPod touch, and more devices all with internet access.
Furthermore let’s think about what consequences this could have. Browsers crash. I do not want my TV to crash. I don’t want to ever have to reboot my TV especially if I’m right in the middle of a show I love. I don’t want to worry about viruses or malware on my TV. If we’re starting turning objects into computers the drawbacks will be there as well as the benefits. I can understand that Google is seeking another way to make money. But is anyone else just not excited that everything around them is turning into a computer?
I can’t wait for the day when urinals are connected to the web so while you’re peeing you can check your e-mail.