March 30, 2007

Is Google Taking Over?

I never used AOL, but I had friends who told me that it was awful—that people kept bugging them, wanting to chat.

Google might be turning into something similar. I mean, as a Mac user, everything seems fine. But when I log into my gmail account from work, using Internet Explorer, Gmail wants to tell me what everyone is doing—based on nothing other than the fact that I've sent them e-mail in the past. People like my colleague at the nonprofit, who is a fellow night owl. And bloggers whom I would never presume to send notes to for any frivolous reason: Gmail wants Windows users to know whether they are at their machines at any given hour of the day or night.

It's kind of creepy. I understand that it's supposed to facilitate chat, but do I really want to chat with everyone I know? Do I want them to be able to chat with me?

And is chatting efficient anyway?—isn't there a certain amount of sitting around while the other person types? And having them wait while I type, producing lines that contain [cough, cough] typographical errors?

Hm. I don't know if I like this Brave New World. I think I want the old one back.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 30, 2007 08:30 PM | TrackBack
Comments

If I'm a good example I don't usually IM my friends on Google Talk unless I have something to say. No bland "How's the weather out there?" questions.

Can't say much about Gmail since I don't use it enough. There must be a default setting in it to keep yourself offline when using it. If not complain to Google because I'm sure others would like that feature.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at March 30, 2007 10:57 PM


You can sign off of chat by clicking the "Set status here" button.

We all knew they would invent a method of communication that didn't involve the brain. Someone should write a program for a random answer generator so that anyone over 18 doesn't have to really participate. Nobody will ever know.

Posted by: Darrell at March 31, 2007 09:23 AM


But it isn't that I mind other people knowing when I'm online. It's that I find it strange that gmail wants me to know what people like James Joyner and the Ace of Spades are doing.

I guess, strictly speaking, it's no weirder than the fact that my neighbors used to know how late I was staying up reading because of when the lamp went out in the living room, though. So perhaps it's a matter of geographical proximity--or lack thereof.

I feel like I can see into other people's living rooms, and I have no way of knowing whether they want me to.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 31, 2007 01:49 PM


People close the blinds when they desire privacy. Besides, computer can do things when their "human companions" are not around. For example, I'm taking a shower now before going to bed. 7AM Mass comes so fast you know, and tomorrow's is a long one.

Posted by: Darrell at March 31, 2007 08:48 PM




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