When Google was first incorporated, their unofficial motto was "Don't be evil". And, for the most part, they stayed true to this philosophy. During the search engine's leaner years, I used to sing its praises to anyone who would listen. "You're using Yahoo?", I'd say, flabbergasted and bug-eyed. Google, with its simplistic design and clutter-free layout, seemed like a natural choice for anyone that didn't want to be bombarded with junk as they made their way around the virtual world.
Unfortunately, as years went by and the company began to slowly expand its horizons, Google didn't seem to be as privacy-friendly as it once was. Until I had an opportunity to glance over the image you see embedded below, I had no idea just how sneaky the search engine had become.
Recently, Google was fined nearly $25,000 for its lack of transparency during an investigation into whether or not the company illegally collected information transmitted through unsecured wi-fi networks while doing work on their Street View product. That may sound like a lot of cash to you and I, but considering they sport a market capitalization of roughly $200 billion, that fine is nothing more than a drop in the proverbial bucket. The whole scenario disturbs me.
Below you can see a chart documenting Google's slow descent into the unscrupulous world of information tracking, among other things. It also gives you some nifty information on how to keep them from secretly spying on your web habits. It's kind of scary, especially from someone who has used the search engine for so long.
So when your child asks you if he or she can trust Google, you should probably say "no". Give them a cookie, a smile, and let them know that everything's going to be all right.