Google is almost as big as the internet. We have grown up with the growth of internet and we have loved its growth, same way we have loved the growth of Google, its working culture, its products, its ubiquity, it gives most of its products free, it helps you make money withadwords, so on and so forth. Now the question is what if Google is not Good?
I had been a ‘fan’ of google some 6-7 years ago when someone more sensible told me about the failings of fandom. He wasn’t anti-Google or anything, but just pointed out to me as an advice.
Since then I had been skeptical. Then, I noticed the empire of Google, its spread and its expanse is terrifying, but somehow it was ingrained that Google is the synonym of good. Now, I had been critical of American government especially for its foreign policies. And then Wikileaks happened and it all came obvious with proof to most of the people across the world.
Now, what if the empire of mind/information/idea/internet Google join hands with the actual empire of U.S. We can safely assume that 1984 of George Orwell is not far behind then.
The author tries to deconstruct the myth surrounding the goodness of Google.
It helps to remember the internet quote, “If you are not paying, you are the product!!!”
The book revolves around a meeting between Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt (The founders of Google are Sergey Brin and Larry Page) and few others while Assange is in asylum at Ecuadorian embassy in England.
Assange provides us an eventful background of journalism, internet, surveillance and Google in a built up before the meeting. He then provides during the course of the interview his insights into the future of encryption, censorship, hacktivism and democracy in first world and third world countries. he also reveal, How does Wikileaks function? under so much scrutiny, witch-hunt and all out attack from the most powerful empire ever in the face of Earth.
Style: First few chapters dwell on the background of the whole story and the main part is a transcript of the conversation between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt and co. Though it is interspersed with technological jargon, it is accompanied by footnotes which helps someone with little technological know-how. The whole book is accompanied with short links of all the things associated. It is an easy one day read but with impact for a whole lifetime.
Verdict: Assange is one of the smartest man in the planet, to conceptualize and run Wikileaks is itself a logistical and technological marvel with the secrecy which they are capable of.
He clears air about lack of any philosophical axioms which he follows and he is a treat to read and listen to.
A must read for computer enthusiasts, Google die-hard fans, journalists, sci-fi buffs, philosophers and everyone who is interested in the course of internet.
Quotable Quote: “Google’s colourful, playful logo is imprinted on human retinas just under six billion times each day, 2.1 trillion times a year – an opportunity for respondent conditioning enjoyed by no other company in history.”