Google has a dark side

ARD documentation via Google : The dark side of power

At some point, Google will know everything. When you go to work, whether you have cold feet, what clothes you wear. It is well known that Google collects information about people and uses it to display personalized advertising on the Internet. The ARD documentary “The Secret Power of Google” by Ulrich Stein leaves viewers to fear something else: at some point there will be a “Google operating system of life”. Because Google, which to this day has the slogan “Don't be evil” - i.e.: Don't be angry - in the company statutes, has become exactly that: Evil. A power that has never been seen before on earth.

If you believe the numbers presented by the film, you have to say: There is something to it. Google receives four billion searches a day. The geospatial service "Google Maps" has a billion monthly users. Each individual request generates data that the search engine uses for its own purposes. In theory, however, they could also be made available to secret services. Anyone who has ever looked at their Google “dashboard” will be surprised what the company knows about you: traveling abroad. Search queries. Entire movement profiles can be called up.

Sounds scary. It is. That is why it must be critically questioned what the group wants with this data. At this point, not very much can be expected from Kay Oberbeck, spokesman for Google Northern Europe: “You don't have to use Google”. End of discussion?

The film sometimes drifts away: Everything about Google is somehow threatening

ARD wants it to be more investigative. But this is where it gets difficult: The film is drifting away. Almost everything that distinguishes Google as a company is interpreted as threatening. Google only hires experts who can work in a pleasant working environment? Suspicious. The Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin maintain contact with US President Barack Obama? Reprehensible. Google interested in profit? Despicable. The fact that a company's profit orientation is not “bad” per se is overlooked. There are still TV problems, especially with the images. Because there is no film material from Obama's allegedly conspiratorial meetings with the Google founders, journalistic principles are turned inside out: The documentary takes care of a pure "tell, don't show."

Nevertheless, there are reasons why activists in Brussels are right to take action against the network giant. One of them: Google allegedly manipulates search algorithms in order to keep the competition small. That is why SPD economics minister Sigmar Gabriel considered during a discussion with “Mr. Google “Eric Schmidt asked whether the search engine should comply with state rules in the future.

“The secret power of Google”, ARD, Monday, 10:45 p.m.

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