September 20, 2005 14:10 | Culture / Social / Technology / WebTech

Google swallows the internet whole, and you with it

First, it was about "indexing" all of the web. Then, it bought a small chunk of that web (Blogger). Then Google said "hey, there's more than the web out there!" and Google Mail was pushed out. Quickly followed by Google Talk.

There was some murmuring recently about something initially called "Ajax Office", wherein you could do all your word processing and spreadsheet work in a web browser and the files would be stored on a remote server. Google was mentioned as "a good place to do it".

I'm not sure what the deal is here but check this out... Google Wifi. Here's the salient part of this:

Why would I want to download and install Google Secure Access?

Google Secure Access allows you to establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi. By using Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted, preventing others from viewing the information you transmit.

Does Google Secure Access connect to a VPN server?

Yes, Google Secure Access connects to Google's VPN ("Virtual Private Network") server provided for this service.

As with everything Google does, yes this is a very good and very much needed service. But what this means is that everything you do on the network goes through Google's servers.

What sort of information does Google have access to?

If you choose to use Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted and sent through Google's servers to the Internet. The data that is received will then be encrypted and sent back through our servers to your computer. Your privacy is important to us, we strongly encourage you to read our Privacy Policy to be fully informed about how your privacy is protected.

Oh please. Policy? A few words to soothe my worries? "Policy" is as weak as the paper it is written on, not to mention the laws of the country they are used in. (For example, it is the policy of Yahoo! China to share the contents of their database with chinese police.)
Encryption? You're joking me right? We're talking about the single largest networked computer in the world. Not to mention they are the ones encrypting the tunnel for you. You don' think they can decrypt it?

Is there a fee for using Google Secure Access?

No, Google Secure Access is free.

Of course. You are supplying them with their main invaluable natural resource: content. For free. Who's getting the real bargain here?

Nothing is free, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. ;)

Trust is something that must be fluid and reflexive. Faith is very very dangerous.


From that webpage:
"Google Secure Access is a new product that is only available at certain locations in the San Francisco Bay Area."

I bet Google's hoping Yahoo employees will use their "secure" wifi.

Or Microsoft, or Apple, or IBM, or Sun...
I don't think they care who uses it... the more the merrier... ;)

Google Talk, Google Wifi, Google Phone, Google TV. Their next slogan: "Your data is safe in our hands".

All your data belongs to Google. ;)

so, who do you trust more - Google or your company's IT dept.? :)

Hey Matt!! :)

Good question. Me? Neither. At this point in time I am my own IT department but when I was in a situation where I had company email address, you better believe I kept very very aware of what went through it.

You know that sysadmin "joke" t-shirt "I read your email"? It's not a joke.


plenty-o reason's why Google is not your friend: (i had to google it to find the url again!!!)

Hehehehheee nice.

Also, to get back to "Google WiFi"... it seems to be a misnomer, perhaps intentional... The service they are providing seems to be little more than a Google branded CHAP/PPTP VPN (Virtual Private Network) client. Theoretically this would work over any internet connection. Windows already comes with this very same same kind of software built-in, as does Mac OS X and *nix. This *is* a very useful service, the issue is how much do you trust Google, a for-profit highly secretive corporation. Ohhhh look at the pretty colors!

Funny, right after leaving my last job, I had thought of starting a monthly subsciption-based VPN service myself. The legal ramifications disuaded me. Not to mention the support nightmares.

Specifically when other types of solutions exist and don't route your traffic through Google machines : See Tor

Google Wifi
"""Google WiFi will be (supposedly) offer for free. The article also reference an earlier report that for the last year, the company had "quietly been shopping for miles and miles of 'dark,' or unused, fiber optic cable across the country," presumably as a step toward building a wireless network."""

Is Google Building Alternative Internet?
" Google is working on its most ambitious project to date, the creation of a global data transfer network that could effectively serve as a private Internet. Since the introduction of AdWords three years ago, Google has become the world’s largest media company and advertising vehicle. It has grown to rival Microsoft in scope and scale. The process has made it a fully globalized corporation."