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Google and the Currency of Data

As usual, the a16z podcast is full of interesting insights and commentary:

For Google, Android is a Tactic and Cloud is a Strategy

Benedict Evans makes the point, over and over again, that Google has continued to leverage its core competency around machine learning and data collection and analysis. It can afford to give away its products for free (e.g., unlimited Photos storage) as it gathers information for Google to analyze and make its systems better, both for its users but more importantly for its advertisers.

On the other side, there are certainly people who find that this amount of data collection is creepy and overreaching. The amount of tolerance varies by individual, but as sharing continues to increase in the digital era, we will continue to nurture generations of kids and teenagers who expect little online privacy, and who will happily make the tradeoff for convenience.

At the same time, the futurist in me is much more excited about the possibilities that are derived from more advanced machine learning and data analysis. Further miniaturization of hardware makes the daily news headlines, but self-driving cars[1] and instantaneous translations and in-context, helpful notifications are the stuff of science fiction.

Data – not dollars – will be the price we pay to enable this future.

Footnotes    (↑ returns to text)

  1. And if Google had their way, every car on the road is another vector for data collection.
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