I never use Google for search.
Me, either! Google just isn't trustworthy and has too many shady practices.
Been using duckduckgo for about 5 years now, google does deeper searches and awesome snapshot archiving, so it's way better for cyberstalking your old asshole math teacher or whatnot. But for 99.99% of searches duckduckgo produces the same results and they don't spy on you. The used to purge their logs daily, not sure if this is still their practice or not..
I often wonder if we're in the golden age of, say 'digitisation' for lack of a better term. There are a couple of angles to this. But it's never been more difficult to get away from the panopticon-like (or 'eye of sauron' if you're more geeky (as an aside, it's interesting that Tolkein sort of alluded to the idea of Panipticon before Foucault popularized Bentham's term)) pervasive surveillance society. But on the other hand, the sorts of information it generates tends to be deeply suspect. Both from the perspective of whether its tampered with, but also from the perspective of the fact that this surveillance apparatus actually /believes/ everything that's fed to it.
You can apply for a car loan with the name Muhammed Porkchop, and somewhere in some database is locked in the existence of this fictitious person forever. And the more you do with this name, the more it builds up a person: Muhammed Porkchop - where he eats, what he likes, his favorite cat video, etc. Muhammed Porkchop becomes indistinguishible from a real person in the digital realm.
It's all rather strange. And would be comical, except for the fact that people believe at face value this to all be true. In the same way that people believe in laws or gods. And this becomes really inconvenient when one's trying to contradict what this weird cloud has come to accept as true. It also would be comical if Wall Street hadn't gotten involved and supported obviously falsifiable frauds in order to support their weird quasi-commerce surrounding it.
One of my theories on why Facebook, for example, became the dominant social networking site (instead of any of the myriad other emergent competitors at the time) was because 'Zuck' is a tool and was always willing to play ball with Wall Street - this is apparent from the earliest iteration of FB at Harvard when it was called "the face book" and his comment: "they trust me, dumb fucks." If you listen to any presentation or interview he gives, what always astounds me is that he really never has anything to say at all. Nothing insightful whatsoever - let alone something one would expect from the tech visionary he's purported to be. There are other reasons too, of course, but I think that this was a critical ingredient.
And another example of the deep fraud of the Wall Street Silicon Valley nexus (to say nothing of governments intermingled in there too) as it pertains to facebook:
Notice the date of that video - it's not like this is new information. So it's not about a legit commerce, rather it's about a nexus of fraud and monetary skimming around something presented by all connected parties as legitimate. These stories keep coming out, and they're presented like it's a just discovered thing: http://createsend.com/t/d-C9E20F13D84C1EB1 Facebook claims more users than even exist.
And, not to pick on FB specificially, because it's not like it's specific to FB:
On a human level, I'm not sure how it all washes out in the end, but the world we've made for ourselves is certainly deeply dystopian on the digital front (and in real life too). Back in the day people couldn't escape their past until national credit organizations became a mainstay of society allowing someone to pick up, move to a new place, and start over. This is sort of the way that modern-mobile western society has operated, certainly for our lifetimes, it's an interesting question whether the pervasive digitized profile created for every person (as well as for persons who aren't real) has taken this away (ie, it's no longer possible to escape one's past - whether true or not).
What does seem clear is that at some point internet and mobile phones end up not being worth the bother (cost) at all. Just like TV became not worth the bother 20+ years ago and people are just now figuring it out and cutting the cords for good..
Interesting thread, makes me hate everyone.. ;\