By Bob Hooper for Island Eye News
Google’s word processing and spreadsheet service Google Docs is basically Microsoft Office for free, right? Wrong. As with anything that is free there is always a catch, and with Google the “catch” is information.
When you type in a document or create a spreadsheet using Google’s free products you have agreed to allow Google’s bots scan every word and sentence you type. It’s part and parcel of the small print you agree to Google’s Terms and Services.
If you listen to Jamie Mellis’s Tech Talk on 1340 AM (Saturdays 10 a.m. to noon, another great tool to increase your knowledge about your digital world and computers) he did a bit about Google Docs this past weekend that is right in line with what I am saying. He talked about a family going camping and how ads had been targeted to them prior to their trip. So that’s how Google knows that I buy for my office or that we have a pool!
The same can be said for Google’s email service Gmail. Google’s bots scan all emails sent and received using the service so as to offer up “relevant” ads when you are surfing the web. Just be aware that Brother Google is “watching” whenever you use its services. But don’t think they are the only ones, basically all services do the same, just maybe not with as much gusto as Google, but still it goes on.
I’ve said it before but I will say it again: Treat all email as if it was a post card in snail mail… anyone can see it! Also remember that anything you put on the Internet is no longer private. Sadly, if you post a wonderful picture of that great time on vacation or the new grandchild it can get pulled by some idiot and used in all sorts of ways. There was a story recently about children’s pictures being used by people who had no children to show relatives their “new baby,’ very sad, not to mention disturbing.
Lastly, remember that convenience of Google docs, that all your documents are available wherever you go, is because they are stored in the cloud and therefore quite easily accessible by determined hackers.
As with all of my columns if you want help or have questions don’t hesitate to call Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.