Creepy, or helpful

Categories Web Tech

Google Now might be a bit of a concern, or it might be extremely helpful.  Depends on your attitude to privacy, whether you want to cling on to the old “We are all islands” mentality or embrace the Hive mind and become part of the whole.

My case.  Last week I went to Christchurch on business, with the accommodation arranged and paid for my company.  My wife was joining me down there, so I called the motel and extended by stay with them .  I only have Outlook email on my work computer, and on the day before I left I forwarded my wife the confirmation (a PDF) to her work email, but it’s not in my Gmail.  I might have double checked the motel address with a quick Google search, but …

When I got to my meeting on Thursday morning, my Google Now screen had a tile which showed the distance and time to my motel. Aunty Google knew where I was, and what I was intending to do later that day!  I hadn’t told her, it wasn’t in my Calendar or anywhere else that she peeks, so what’s up?

Should I be re-assured that someone vastly more organised than I can ever be is looking after my life.  Has Aunty G become my PA?  If so, how come she didn’t know where I was eating that night, and which sort of wine my hosts drank so that I wouldn’t rock up with two reds when all they drink is white?  You slipped up there, Aunty, but I bet, having read this, that you’ll do better next time.

If I had any secrets, or if I felt that I were important, I would unplug my life immediately, throw away my phone and my internet and redevelop my old skills with pen and paper, and retreat to some cold lake in the south to become a hermit. But I’m not interesting or important, my life is open source, you’re all welcome to all of it, dull and repetitive as it may be,  so I’m welcoming this invasion,  giving up my old notions of privacy, and subsuming my consciousness into the Hive where no doubt I’ll see you all, sooner or later.

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