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Social Media Fact

Google Drives Us. Literally.

Thomas Author: Thomas Loughlin

Yesterday, Google announced that they have been working on a technology ( to allow cars to drive themselves. The claim is that their cars have driven over 140,000 miles on public road ways (with a human driver and software monitor in the front seat, just in case). Coming from the tech side of the world, I immediately dreamt of a world where my car drives me from sea to shining sea while I surf the internet and read Reddit and Digg for hours. Oh how glorious life would be. My laziness would turn into a whole new level.

But would it be a better place? I’m a dreamer – I like to believe that every idea is fostered out of good will and a true intention of benefiting society. I blindly turn away from any notion of this being a for profit venture. But what scares me is this: what could Google do with the new information harnessed from your “autocar”? We know they already know what we search for and they know what and where we buy stuff on the internet, but this would give the “IRL” (in real life) information on what we are doing outside of the internet. Suddenly, the cost of this technology becomes AdDetours instead of AdWords. Our trips to work are suddenly all routed around our favorite coffee stores. I drive by the same Google owned billboard 5x a day.

How will this information impact our social networks? Will our “autocars” route by the location with the most fans, friends or followers or will we have a new standard of measuring popularity called “physical visits?” Will @replies on Twitter determine where I go next? Will facebook events determine my new social destination?

With every new amazing technology from Google, we seem to lose a little more of our privacy. But we always had the ability to turn off the computer and escape Google’s far reaching technology (provided we didn’t hop on our smart phones and start using gmail or google maps). Now, google enters a previously unknown world, our cars, and slowly but surely, Google gains even more information about me.

And is that really worth it in the end?


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