I used to be an admirer, Google. Really. I thought you were the good guys, the ones riding in on a white horse to revitalize the tech economy and create lots of new jobs in Silicon Valley so all those poor Northern California tech workers could afford their $6,000 a month mortgages on their 98-square-foot apartments. You had a cool logo, a wonderful, easy-to-use search engine, offices that would make life in the circus seem boring, and fantastic road maps and directions that even terminally cartographically impaired unfortunates like myself could follow. I particularly liked Google Image Search, which allows me to show my querying three-year-old daughter what a platypus looks like when she asks, right on the spot (imagine the days of antiquity when I would have had to schlep out to a library to show her a picture in an encyclopedia!) Sure, I knew you were out to make a profit, but I always thought it was the sort of profit my local organic vegetable stand was out to make. The bills have to be paid, I know.
I sided with you when you began scanning books: it’s hard to argue that making books available to more people can really be bad. I forgave you when it was revealed that your Google Street View cars were “accidentally” sniffing personal information off people’s wifi networks in Germany, and even when you tried to cover it up by hiding the hard drives. (“What hard drives?”) I’m sure the police in South Korea raided your office this week only because they were dying for a cup of Ethiopian Sidamo Fair Trade Organic coffee from one of those space-age coffee makers you have in your offices.
But now I hear you’re fooling around behind my back with my wireless carrier (with whom I’m seldom on speaking terms), making back-door deals cloaked in the worst kind of press release euphemisms and double-talk. Look, I’m not one of those people who believe that the Internet is some sort of airy-fairy communal Utopia, enjoyed by all and owned by no one. I’d like to think that way, just like those legions of outraged Twitterers, but since I actually know how the Internet works, my naiveté was relatively shallow.