The old adage ‘If a headline ends in a question mark, the answer is no’ might apply here, but let’s view the proper answer as the much less of two distinct evils. Apple vs. Google is a battle that rages similar to the Mac vs. Windows war that ran for a couple of decades. There are similarities.
Back in the day the Mac was synonymous with Apple, and Windows was the de facto leader among PC operating systems. The problem was in the comparison. The Mac was a PC. Windows was the operating system on competing PCs.
Today it’s much the same. It’s Android vs. iPhone. Except Android is an operating system on smartphones, while the iPhone is, well, a smartphone. Mac vs. Windows. iPhone vs. Android. Same thing.
Back in the day it was Microsoft that could not be trusted thanks to predatory pricing, illegal monopoly practices, and a lack of innovation which damaged the company and paved the way for a mobile device revolution led by competitors Apple and Google. Today, the former works much the same way it always has. Build it, and they will come. While the latter created a different business model, perhaps more sinister and dangerous to users and customers than Microsoft ever was.
I know what you’re thinking. “Say what, Kate? How is that so?”
Isn’t it obvious? Microsoft charged money for Windows and Office, extracting onerous fees from manufacturers based– not on the number of PCs shipped with Windows, but the total number of PCs shipped, regardless of the operating system. That’s monopoly abuse which hurt consumers and damaged the marketplace.
Today, Google gives away products or sells hardware at near the manufacturing cost. Why? The business model is different. When you use Gmail or Chrome or search Google you’re not a customer. You’re a user. Google’s customers are advertisers. Google collects data from your online activities and application usage, then massages that data to create a more compelling atmosphere for advertising, advertisers, and data sales.
To Google, you’re not the customer; you’re a user, and that means you’re part of the product.
How far Google can be trusted with your personal data depends upon whether or not you care wht happens to that information and how it can be used to influence your behavior online; what you read, what ads are visible to you, and what other companies collect, mine, and massage data about you.
If you don’t care, that doesn’t make Google any less untrustworthy. It just means you don’t care about trustworthiness.
Do you trust Apple?
Remember this is the company that tracks very little about a customer’s personal information, but does track usage and usability, ostensibly, information used to help make the product experience better next year than it was this year.
A similar question could be asked with other technology giants, including Facebook, which has carved out a section of the internet so distinct that many people think of the internet as Facebook. That reminds me of those who once thought AOL was the internet; a theme park, maybe, but the public internet, no.
Facebook also tracks your online behavior and displays information based upon who you’re connected to (friends), who you search for (former friends and acquaintances, as well as others you may wish to follow. Again, it’s a tracking mechanism designed to make money, and influence your online behavior.
Who do you trust? Social media and online giants who manipulate your online experience through tracking and in-your-face content, or a company which creates a product that influences your usage habits to a degree that makes it difficult to switch to another product?