First of all: I think it’s really great that gmail is free. I use it all the time for this blog.
And I did know that Google would be tracking every website I visit when I’m logged in. And that there would be ads to match my ”preferences”. I know that this is how Google makes their money. They say that 99% of Googles revenue ($50 billion in 2012) comes from companies that pay Google to get access to this information that they have about us. The ad-buyers. The custumer-buyers. And it works. The people I’ve talked to who buy ads from Google claim that they actually make money by paying Google.
But I didn’t know that Google read through all my emails for this purpose. This means that some automatic robot (I hope) searches through my emails looking for specific words. And this is the information that Google sells. I guess gmail wasn’t free after all, right?
At what point in time did this become standard? I remember only 5 years ago I had a conversation with a friend about this and we agreed that people would never tolerate this type of invasion of privacy. But I guess we were wrong…. Do we really know how valuable we are to these companies? Our mere presence online generates money for someone somewhere. Where will this take us in 10-20 years? What’s the next step? I’m really not too eager to find out…