Decentralization vs. Google (Alphabet)

We can all agree that Alphabet is quite a large conglomerate owning many different companies and working towards various different goals. If anonymity becomes a large enough issue, the internet may experience a movement from search engines/services such as google towards decentralized applications such as YaCy and Synereo. Would a movement like this, however, even be feasible?

Yesterday in an article about What The Future of Search may look like, I mentioned

that decentralized applications would need to be exceptional at what they do, in order for users to switch from a service they have already been using for years. Would most users even be willing to switch over from their usual search engine to another one, even if their regular search engine was collecting data to the point that it made them uncomfortable?

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Part of the answer to this question lies in the gradual way in which services and applications are introducing ways in which they collect data. A few years ago, there were fewer services through which companies were able to collect data, and so it obviously didn't happen.

Today, the newest release of Windows and OSX, and Ubuntu all collect data on their users. Maybe this is a result of 'convergence' between platforms, and the still-growing popularity of the cloud, but that doesn't matter. It is, however, clear that services are increasingly collecting data on their users. Parks and Recreation even did a satirical bit on this:

Gryzll's, like, the most innocently wicked company ever. Right, man?

Funny T.V shows aside, controversy surrounding the inclusion of ways to collect user data on OSX means that the public is taking notice, but not in such a way as to persuade most to turn the features off. If I were to guess, it would be that most OSX users did not turn off this new feature, or they don't even care.

It seems many, and indeed popular opinion, is bent on simply accepting the ways in which many services today collect data on their users. Will it simply continue like this? Eventually, maybe even soon, snowball into absurdity?

If it continues in this way, than the proliferation of decentralized applications is surely not a prospect to be anticipating anytime soon. A sad conclusion, considering the benefits of decentralization vs. centralization.

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Andrew Plaza

Nerdy Tech fanatic interested in the intricacies of life, technology, and high existence.

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