Paul Williams' Editorial from Music Week (10.05.08)
Apologies for stating the seriously obvious but stop for a second and just think how amazing 'Google' is. After reading the excellent taster from Chris Anderson's new book about the 'Free' economy (follow up to 'The Long Tail') in Wired magazine from about a couple of months ago, I've constantly reminded myself how simply phenomenal 'Google' is, ultimately because, after at least 10 years of constant use, it's still f*cking FREE!!
Endless rinsing of 'Google Maps' to easily find out where you need to go, daily news digests from 'Google News' and searches by the second, in fact, second nature, a digital reflex you don't often stop to consider.
Then, the incredible YouTube (yes, owned & bought for about $1.65 billion by Google in case you've been sleeping) and not forgetting one of, if not THE best web-based e-mail services around 'GMail', fabulous at filtering your Spam as well as countless other Google apps.
I'm hard pressed to find another company who comes close to 'Google' in its 'free-kyness'. For example, say, your phone provider, who gives the illusion of 'free' but more often than not you're stung with caveats, hidden charges such as 'limits' to your usage, poor service, which you end up paying for via unhelpful premium-rate lines.
Ever had a problem with 'Google'? I wouldn't even know where to begin to call/e-mail/find their 'complaints line'; I'm sure it'd be something like that classic Carlsberg ad where a man, walking down the 'Carlsberg Corridors' hears a phone ringing behind one of the doors. He enters the very dusty, cob-webbed room, picks up the equally dusty phone and it turns out the caller has the wrong number. Final shot reveals the sign on the door, "Carlsberg Customer Complaints Department".
Back to the example of phone companies & the illusion of 'free' - don't forget their 'bill-bullying' for late payment or for you not complying to how they want you to pay i.e. 'Direct Debit'.
Maybe the 'Golden Age' of Google could soon be myth and end abruptly. OK, nobody/no company's perfect - Google has come under fire for its 'privacy' issues with people concerned about themselves and their 'data' being spied on and stored. Is that so bad? That's up for debate.
I simply repeat where I began - think how much and what you've used 'Google' for, how invaluable it's been and at what cost? Nothing but your time.
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