Let your mind go back just a bit. 1998 will do just fine for this exercise. Now let’s pretend you work for Dunder Mifflin and you need to deliver paper from the Scranton branch to the Nashua New Hampshire branch. By the way, one of the reasons I love The Office is because most of the branches were radio markets that Citadel Broadcasting (my company) owned.
Back to your mission. Paper to Nashua. How do you get there? Let me recreate the late 90’s traveler’s scenario. It all started with a trip to mapquest.com. Go ahead try it, it still exists. You print out your MapQuest….Spill coffee, green tea, or Snapple on it so you can’t tell where you exit off of Rt 84, and then drop the eight pieces of paper (lots of ads) under your feet right before the last exit.
Crazy? Yea, but still better than the map you got from the Hillbilly at the Sunoco outside of Hartford. Do you know who felt your horrible plight? Google, that’s who.
Google thought—“Wow, travelling sure does suck…How can we help so people don’t have to print out a MapQuest or buy a Tom Tom at Staples for $199?” The answer came to them in a flash of big brother brilliance. “Let’s watch their every move for all eternity for free GPS”. The rest is targeted advertising history.
In exchange for a free map, we gave Google the power to watch our every move, and sell us shit as a special bonus. Don’t kid yourselves, if you use Google Maps, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is tracked, stored, analyzed, and sold to companies so you buy their stuff.
Maybe you’re ok with that….I kind of am. I only get ads I care about served up to me……. WAIT!… Scratch that. I’m still getting Las Vegas display ads from a trip five months ago, and ads for a golf trainer that I already bought. I digress, because mostly I get it. I love the free GPS. But is it worth your privacy? Did you know they were tracking your every move?
So, I leave this final thought. Is the luxury of not printing out a MapQuest worth Google knowing your every move? There is no such thing as free. More posts on this topic in the upcoming weeks