I've always liked Google, but a recent article in The Independent suddenly put me into a paranoid mood. To the untrained eye, Google is just a bunch of nerds trying to make the world a better place. Google gives us everything. Freely. Because the Internet is great, and they want us to be able to take advantage of it.
But what if one day, the benevolence of Google turns into a HAL like nightmare. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Google is on its way to achieving absolute power.
Here are some examples:
1) Google Earth/Street/Maps - Google has as much intelligence as the US military. Plus the ability to perhaps doctor or manipulate this data can have drastic effects on society.
2) Gmail/Google Docs - All your information is stored in Google's data centers. Where it can be searched or manipulated without your knowledge.
3) Google news - we saw how an old story about United Airlines that showed up on the newswires by mistake almost destroyed that company's stock. News manipulation in today's world can wreak Orwellian devastation.
The latest article on Google moving it's data centers off shore into international waters is a bit scary. Ostensibly they are doing it to use the waves' energy to cool the data centers and make them run more green, but it also puts them out of jurisdiction of any country...