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Should We Be Paranoid About Google
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Should We Be Paranoid About Google

Maybe it is paranoia but I am a little uncomfortable with Google at the moment. On my Android smartphone I have installed a variety of Apps including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking and email related tools.

In the past I have generally been a Nokia mobile user. It is only now that I have found anything more useful than the N95 and related models. As a Windows PC user I have also been a Microsoft Office user which means my email has always been managed by Outlook for at least the last 10 years. So the move to Android and Gmail is probably the first major change of habit for a while.

Maybe I have had it too good but there has always been superb “syncing” software provided with my Nokia. Just plug the phone into the PC using a USB cable, install the software supplied by Nokia and all my contact details, calendar schedules, notes and other information are automatically synchronised. Quick, easy and reliable. From getting my new “toy” out of its box and then loaded with my life and keeping it that way, has usually been a painless process.

It took me a while to realise that if you want to get your contacts etc into your Android device that google and gmail had a catch. You no longer upload everything to your device, now you upload everything to your Gmail account and therefore all your details are stored online by Google. After a lot of searching I discovered that there is a tool which allows me to do what I want but as yet I have not had a chance to try it. The point or question is. “Do I or should anyone trust Google with all our contact information?”

I have been a loyal Google user since the late 90’s and as time passes, happily use more and more of their products. It is not that I do not trust Google or doubt their integrity. Privacy is important and security of my data is important too. It would seem a little dangerous to simply give it to someone else and hope that there will not be a problem. Leave aside simple issues like concerns that Google will lose my data (this has happened thankfully not to me). In my experience the greatest security risk to data is not from hackers, viruses or other mythical concepts but usually from employees of the company either doing something stupid or stealing data “from within”.

My contact list only contains family, friends and business contacts and if I lost half of the business contacts I probably would not notice so I am not saying I have anything to hide. This is just a principle issue. When using Outlook and my old mobiles I could control security, I took care of backups I was comfortable with how my data was looked after. If I upload everything to Google I have no idea of what is happening to my data and I do not like that.

This is one of those strange dilemmas. Upload everything and no doubt my fears will prove to be unfounded and the next 10 years will be trouble free, maybe even better. Or maybe one day in the future I wake up in the morning to an “oops” and an apology from Google and probably little else. I will be trying out the solution which means I can add my contacts to my Android device but I expect that I will not be able to use them with Gmail and that I may have no option but to upload everything to Google at some point in the future. Fingers crossed.

Street Talk

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