Lets face it, you probably use Google, just like 1.17 billion other people. Out of all the major search engines, Google is by far the largest. It seems every new license agreement we accept is another agreement for Google, or any other entity for that matter, to gather intermittent data on your 'habits'.
The categorization of 'habits' grows larger with every new quirky technological advancement. In the future, Google (or now more formally known as 'Alphabet') would be able to collect data on where you are, what temperature you like to keep your home at, when you leave and come back to your home, what speed you like to run at, what clothes you wear; the list goes on. The possibilities of tracking one's habits are becoming almost unimaginably surreal. Some compare it to the harrowing story of Orwell's 1984. Hopefully, it's not as serious.
One thing is for sure however, the public is becoming increasingly aware of data harvesting by large corporate entities. Living in the fortunately free and respective society of today, these issues have been sparking increasing conversation among groups and organizations. In response, several solutions to solving the problem of 'centralization' has come up. Most obviously and probable is 'decentralization'. Decentralization in the computer sense of the word, means doing away with one central program or entity through which a client uses a service, instead giving the power of the application to the user.
A relatively new search engine created in response to decentralization is "YaCy". In simple terms, YaCy is a cross-platform decentralized search engine. Instead of accessing a search engine application which is stored on Google's servers, a user has to download YaCy's search engine software. Not only does this eliminate the need for a data center storing all of a search engines information (since it is instead stored on the client's computer), it creates an ultimately more private environment than Google would ever offer (or be trusted to offer). However, decentralization is not without its own hurdles. For example, being available on all OS platforms without a hitch is critical for decentralized applications to be available to as wide a user base as possible. It is also preferred that the decentralized application itself is not owned by some third-party, but is instead a product of Open-Source software. This would better guarantee that the decentralized application does not contain any nefarious code.
The big question is whether decentralized applications such as YaCy ever catch on, or be easy enough for any member of the public to be able to install and properly and effectively use. It would become imperative, therefore, that such an applications functionality equals or is greater than that of Google. One would just need to look at the creation of a search engine like Bing to know that users prefer something that works and does exactly what they want rather than a flashy nature-image generator that does some search-engine work on the side.
So, are we headed towards an era where people value their privacy to the point they begin using decentralized search engines such as YaCy, or will we simply keep accepting Google's license agreements, allowing them to continue and gather information on our 'habits'.
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