Don Norman has a view of Google that is different than most people, who, even if they knew, still might be indifferent. While Apple has customers who buy Apple’s products, to Google, you are the product, and you’re being sold to advertisers, who are really Google’s customers.
In a nutshell, that’s it.
To Apple, you’re a customer in the traditional sense. They make a product that’s so good we’re willing to stand in line to get the latest one. They have customer support phone numbers; humans we can talk to in stores.
To Google, you’re the product. Google doesn’t want to talk to you. Google wants you to give them information that they can sell to their real customers (as defined by, “they give Google money“).
Apple sells products to customers. So does Google. But you’re the product (personal information) that Google sells to their customers (advertisers).
They have lots of people; lots of servers, they have Android, they have Google Docs, they just bought Motorola. Most people would say ‘we’re the users, and the product is advertising’. But in fact, the advertisers are the users and you are the product.
Think about that for a moment. Google gives away internet search, the Chrome browser, the Android operating system, YouTube videos, all so you, the product, will give them information that they can sell to their customers, the advertiser.
They say their goal is to gather all the knowledge in the world in one place, but really their goal is to gather all of the people in the world and sell them.
That changes the perspective I have of Google. It may also change my view of Facebook (how is it different?).
Google has become so blatant about capturing your information and selling it to the highest bidder, that Google +, the Facebook competitor, requires real names vs. fake names. Real names are more valuable.
What of Apple?
In this sense, our favorite Cupertino toy maker is not innovative at all. They make products. We buy their products. We’re both happy.
Come on, Apple. Where’s the innovation? Going forward, the real innovation at Apple might be that walled garden we hear so much about; a protective place where privacy our privacy is treated with respect, and care, and concern, and the information we give to Apple only benefits us. And Apple, of course.
Hmmm. Wait a minute…