Today morning, I was in a very passionate discussion about privacy, computer fingerprinting and all the other intrusive ways companies like Google and Facebook track our browsing. And then use that data to show us targeted ads. And it’s mostly Google and Facebook – who together account for over 50% market share of online advertising. I talked (very proudly) about how Google and Facebook can’t get it to me – I have a bunch of ad-blockers and I only use Duck Duck Go (no-tracking search engine).
However, I then also remembered reading this article a spoon developed by Verily, a Alphabet owned company. Verily has built a spoon that helps people with motor disorders or partial paralysis eat their own food. Something that we take for granted – eating our own food – can actually be challenging for people with injuries to spinal cord. This spoon ‘reads‘ involuntary motion when food is picked up and motors in this spoon introduce motion which counteracts the involuntary motion. This sort of evens out the involuntary motion, thus stopping the food from falling down.
Now what does this spoon have to do with advertising? It’s that Verily is funded by Alphabet and is not held (like other Alphabet companies or initiatives) to strict short term profit (or even revenue) making parameters. This, in turn, allows companies like Verily to build products that may serve a smaller set of people but is life changing for them or go into areas which border on craziness (like Calico which aims to solve ageing!). Now I am not saying that Alphabet does this out of goodness of their heart – I am sure there is a underlying ‘dominate the world‘ plan in there some were. BUT, making money hand over fist from advertising (revenue of $32 billion in Q4 2017) does allow Alphabet to give its companies elbow room to experiment and build products like this spoon.
So after reading this article, I immediately stopped using Duck Duck Go and uninstalled my ad-blockers.
Google (Alphabet) – show me the ads!!!