July 29, 2013
Google Is Enormous And Knows Everything
Wired published an article recently claiming 25 percent of North America’s Internet traffic is served up by Google. In other words, more than 62 percent of all those connected devices we have laying around — smartphones, tablets, those incredibly hideous glasses — visit a Google site at least once a day. The numbers might be a little tough to digest, however. According to Craig Labovitz, founder of Deepfield, the company which produced this data, it’s pretty tough to measure something as immense and pervasive as Google’s reaction on the Internet, much less the entirety of the Internet itself.
We’ll let him have this one.
What’s more, Labovitz says the Googs only accounted for six percent of all North American traffic just three years ago. It makes sense. This 25 percent number doesn’t only include Google searches; YouTube, Google Analytics, apps and those gold mine advertisements also help to round out this number. All told, Deepfield says Google is bigger than Facebook, Instagram and Netflix combined, and that’s a huge deal considering Netflix’s numbers.
That’s the thing with Google, though….they’ve become so large it’s hard to see them as just one company.
They make Android and have been increasing their hardware offerings, as well.
They also make a PC operating system and push hardware for it.
They also run analytics for websites, offer email services to anyone and everyone. They run YouTube, search and, of course, ads.
For the sake of brevity (and not talking to you as if you’ve never heard of Google), I’ll simply say “Google creates a lot of data.”
And in many ways, Google deserves quite a bit of credit for handling this input and output. It’s not easy to deliver emails, keep calendars in sync and locate the nearest pizza joint all while serving up bootleg videos from Dave Matthews Band concerts and helping people search for nip slip pics.
Ah, but then there’s another issue discussed in the Wired article about how Google handles their data.
According to Wired, Google uses something they call “Google Global Cache Servers” to quickly deliver some of the more popular content on the web to ISPs all over the world. The most popular YouTube videos, for instance, or some of the most visited websites will be cached here for quick and easy delivery. If a person in a far off land wants to watch the Charlie Bit My Finger video, it’s likely these caches have it stored and ready to go as opposed to having to fish for it somewhere stateside.
It makes sense, yes, but it’s curious that the ISPs who use these caches aren’t really allowed to discuss them. Google isn’t talking about the specifics, either.
Maybe they’re not talking about it because it’s boring subject matter. Maybe they’re not talking about it because they don’t have any real reason to.
If I was a betting man, however, I’d say Google’s not talking about it because they’re using these cache servers as just another cog in their data-collecting machine which powers their advertising. This in and of itself wouldn’t be bad, but Google has proven themselves to be extra aggressive when it comes to using customer data to serve ads. Don’t forget, after all, that they may soon begin emailing you ads directly to your Gmail inbox whether you want them or not.
Call me crazy, but this kind of stuff creeps me out. And though I go out of my way to keep Google from learning anything about me, these cache servers probably mean they’re getting to know me anyway.
And they haven’t even taken me out for a drink yet.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com