re: Are we Developers helping Google to build an unstoppable monopoly? VIEW POST


I always feel like these kinds of companies could offer 90% of their service without having to collect nearly the amounts of data they do, especially when they have the lead Google does.

Google could easily flip the switch and care about privacy and still offer a great service, but nobody does this. They just keep collecting and invading. It’s like a virus.

I consider myself a conscientious partner in a way with these organizations. I use them, work with them in various ways, but I also try to be critical and angry when appropriate.

This tech is far from a pure good for the world.


Ben, you are an Entrepreneur yourself. What do you think, if there is a choice between saving money and providing your users extra privacy what would you choose?


I mean, we run a platform which could be centered around data harvesting, but we really don't build around this option. I believe we can be pretty modest about the data we collect and still offer a pretty great, customized experience for the users.

Exactly, I think every company should have a page on their sites to explain how they use users data in as simple language as they can.
On the other hand, We developer should take the initiative to explain normal people on how to protect their privacy. More tools like DuckDuckGo,TrackMeNot should be built by the Dev Community. We developers should be more responsible in choosing free services and should check the privacy term more carefully. Because I believe coding is like a superpower and as uncle ben said

"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"

Literally 99% of our code is open source. It would be pretty hard for us to do too much under the hood. Any data on the users can be mapped pretty easily to its purpose within the product. I think a lot of folks in tech really hoard data for the sake of having it "as an asset".

Currently we use some external analytics tools (Google Analytics, etc.), same as most folks. But we're looking to ween our way off of some of these, while adopting others. I'd say most companies just keep adding and adding and adding. I think modesty is key.

Just out of sheer curiosity, what's the ~1% of closed-source code involved with, besides these analytics? Deployment, etc?


Have you ever compared normal Google search with doing a Google search through Tor browser? When used through Tor, Google Search is a lot closer to DuckDuckGo. When used logged in, with all the personalization, Google is much better at figuring out what I mean.

When I ask you a question on here, you have the benefit of a lot of context (the conversation we're having or have had in the past, the website I'm posting it on, my name and profile picture). When I ask DuckDuckGo, or Google through Tor, they have almost nothing to go on other than the literal words I typed.

There is a real problem with Google having all this information, because of the filter bubble effect, the capacity for leaking, and the sheer POWER that comes from their ability to shape the narrative and knowledge base of their users. But I'm annoyed at all the privacy-rhetoric that ignores the fact that they're delivering value with all of it: Google has actual reasons for operating the way they do, and if you want to do better, you have to actually offer something more, not just "it's Google but without the value of being able to use context to figure out what your search queries mean".

And I actually use DuckDuckGo. I've been switching off of tracking-centric services like Twitter and Google after the 2016 presidential election caught me completely off guard. The filter bubble is real, and zero-tracking platforms should focus on the value of breaking it (DDG already does, but I haven't seen much mention of it on DEV).

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