Is Google Now creepy or cool?
The other day my colleague Brian Fagioli posted a story about Cortana advancements for the Windows Phone crowd. It got me thinking because he stated that "quite frankly, Google Now is so good at learning about you, that at first, it can seem a bit creepy". He isn't far off the mark, as it is creepy, but it works. And it works to an almost scarily good degree, when it comes to figuring its user out. TV? Travel? Packages ordered? It will have you covered. But is all of this a good or bad thing?
The answer will depend on the person, as I know the privacy advocates will chime in and disagree with my assessment. Am I worried about this invasion to my personal life? The answer is a resounding NO. Google Now alerts me to all sorts of events, some are just useful, some are things I'd likely have forgot without the help of the search giant.
For instance, thanks to GPS data, Google has figured out I go grocery shopping every Sunday morning and gives me a message when I wake up. It tells me drive time and traffic conditions (non-existent, as I live in the country, but still nice) for the trip. It also alerts me about my football team's upcoming game that day and reminds me of the score the next day -- a bit annoying if they lost. On Monday morning it reminds me that Blacklist is on at 10pm.
Yes, the service learns to know you almost as well as your spouse. But is that good or bad? Google uses information from your searches, email, GPS, etc. to accomplish all of this, so many of you will baulk at the prospect. I will not be among you. As Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, once said, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it".
As a basically public person I don't hide anything -- you can all email me or view my Facebook page (don't bother sending a friend request, though). If anything, I should worry about a stalker, and Google isn't that.
Yes, much of this data is being collected by the NSA, but guess what? With or without Google Now, it still would be. If you want privacy then disconnect the internet, use cash and move to a cabin in the woods. Otherwise, understand that Google doesn't care about you personally. It's really ads that are better targeted and Now which is genuinely helpful with your daily life. You can argue if you wish, but I'll stick with "cool" and not "creepy" for my vote.