To many people the obvious and unequivocal answer would be yes, big brother Google is watching you. Often questions like this arise because of the size and influence of an a organization, not because there is actually any threat from it.

Google began life as a simple search engine, although what it achieved pretty quickly was quite revolutionary. Search engines up until that point, Like Yahoo and Alta vista were also directories, and search was in effect only one of their services. What Google did was wipe the page clean, literally and have just one box where you entered search terms, and that was it.

People were initially quite confused because it all seemed too simple, and in a sense it was. What Google did was focus very clearly one thing and did it very well. They introduced search technology that was way superior to anything else around at the time and pretty quickly established themselves as the place where people went to start looking for information on the web. They effectively became gatekeepers to the internet and then very quickly built on that supremacy, each time responding to a very clear and definite need on the internet.

Gmail was a good alternative to the much used but really spammy Hotmail. AdSense revolutionized online advertising and today accounts for most if not all of Google's revenue. And lets not forget its phone operating system, Android, its browser Chrome, its blog software Blogger, its attempt to put millions of books online, its video channel You Tube, its online calendar, its online version of an office suite of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, Google maps, Google apps etc etc etc.

The list of what Google actually offers nowadays is frankly stunning and often not fully realized just how intrusive it is.

People will argue that Google is just one private company and people have a choice in all these areas, which is very true. It is worth taking note of the fact that Google will keep track of all the information it can about you, that you give it, and use that information to fine tune its advertising process to be able to target you more specifically.

I wonder how many people realize that Google scan your sent Gmail account email to be able to put in specific ads relevant to the wording of your email, your keywords effectively, all for your benefit of course - that seems pretty scary to me!

It may well be that many people look at Google and say, yeah they have all this information, but it really doesn't bother me - people often aren't bothered by small incremental changes to their life which is why it is even more important to step back some times and consciously ask the question, should I be worried?

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