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Big Revolution - Google and the give-and-take of privacy

Greetings from the Enterprise Stage at Tech Show North, where I'm MCing and hosting fireside chats wi
May 8 · Issue #414 · View online
Big Revolution
Greetings from the Enterprise Stage at Tech Show North, where I’m MCing and hosting fireside chats with entrepreneurs over the next two days. It should be fun — stop by and say hello if you’re attending.
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things from Google I/O
  • Google has launched budget-priced Pixel phones. The Pixel 3A and 3A XL cost $399 and $479 (£399 and £469) respectively, and look like really good value. They’re on sale now in select markets.
  • Google Search is to display 3D models for certain search results. So you’ll be able to explore the anatomy of a shark, for example.
Big things you need to know today
  • Samsung has admitted it can’t say when the Galaxy Fold will launch. It will automatically cancel preorders, unless customers opt in to keep their order live. Let’s face it, this foldable phone may never go on sale in its current iteration.
  • Facebook will build its WhatsApp payments feature in London because it attracts a multicultural workforce from countries where the app is popular, the FT reports [paywalled]
  • The UK’s Ordnance Survey mapping agency is working on highly-detailed maps that will be updated frequently. They will be created from data collected from cameras on utility vehicles. The maps are intended to aid 5G deployment and smart city planning.
The big thought
Google I/O 2019
Google I/O 2019
Google and the give-and-take of privacy
However, many of these actions can also be seen as Google wanting to make sure it hangs on to as much data as possible. “Don’t switch Location History off entirely! Just temporarily use Incognito Mode when you’ve got something to hide!” And “don’t share your Nest data with other companies, let us keep it!”
The truth is privacy and utility have a more complicated relationship in the modern world than we might wish. While many of us would love the benefits of Google’s amazing technology without the company tracking us, it’s not really possible.
Google needs to track us to make money, but it also needs to track us to make its user-focused technologies work so well. It’s this tradeoff that makes dumping Google a far less appealing prospect to many than dumping Facebook. If you choose total privacy away from Google you’ll lose out by missing the convenience others benefit from.
At some point, the value of all this utility becomes greater than the potential cost of giving Google so much data — at least in the short term (who knows what the long-term implications are of one company having so much information).
Let’s not kid ourselves, by introducing more privacy-focused features, Google is aiming to avoid regulation that may hurt it more than it can hurt itself. But as long as we’re aware that’s the case, I’m happy with the compromise. For now, at least.
One big read
AirPods Are a Tragedy AirPods Are a Tragedy
Like Apple’s AirPods? This look at their environmental impact might change your mind.
One big tweet
Siri is looking increasingly left behind…
That’s all for today...
See you in your inbox again tomorrow.
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