Google Apps

Poll: Are Google users the customer or the commodity being sold?

TechRepublic member Neon Samurai believes Google users are no more than a commodity to be sold to advertisers. Do you agree?
In a recent article by Kevin Purdy published in the Google in the Enterprise Blog, A practical argument for a Google Drive product, TechRepublic member Neon Samurai was concerned about the viability of Google-provided personal cloud storage. This part of his comment is what caught my attention:

"Google's core business is advertising. We are not the customer; we are the commodity being sold. If google provides hosted storage, they will do so in the same way they provide other services; with full transparency into the user's data."

That got me thinking. I know Google uses data gleaned from users to help direct their advertising assets and I accept that as the cost of using Google Apps, but even with that reality, I always considered myself a Google customer. Perhaps I should not make that assumption.

If I really am a mere commodity in Google's eyes, that would help explain the lack of "customer service" I have experienced from the company recently. Can Google really afford service to one kernel of corn inside a silo full of kernels? What do you think? Do you consider yourself a Google customer and more importantly, do you think Google treats you as a customer?

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Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

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