Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Did You Know That Google Wishes You a Happy Birthday?

Oh, how nice of you Google!
I’m so behind with these things; apparently this goes back to 2010, and for five years I’ve been missing out on it. Maybe I have noticed it at some point but disregarded it because it’s not important... I mean, it’s not like I’m chummy with Google or anything, and I tend to ignore anything that resembles some form of a… gimmick. But today, as I opened my browser, and Google being my default search engine, paying no attention to the cakes and candles doodle; I had my cursor over the doodle and it was wishing me a happy birthday by name. But of course today is my birthday otherwise I would be surprised or terribly unimpressed if it wasn’t. I figured Google knows this by my Google profile, since I don’t have or haven't upgraded to Google Plus [see, I’m not chummy with Google].

Apparently, for five years now Google has been wishing everyone a happy birthday with a special doodle on its homepage. According to Mashable, if you click on the doodle you will be brought to your Google profile and will be surprised even more with virtual streamers, a cupcake and a ‘Happy Birthday’ message; but that was five years ago. Clicking on the doodle now will bring you to your Google Plus page, which of course as stated above, I don’t have.

I have mixed feelings about this. Of course I assume nobody else knows about my birthday, apart from my family and friends and those I told them about, and if I hadn't written about it here. But this whole thing in some way serves as a reminder, at least to me, to be careful with my personal information - what I sign up for and what information I willingly give up. Sometimes because the service provider you’re signing up with is a huge company like Google, you tend to have some sort of a ‘relative faith’ to give up some of your personal information; that they have the resources to protect your information. But how many times have you given up your privacy in exchange for something in return or out of necessity, and before you know it they know more than you initially intended.

I tend to have a bit of a distrust with technology, or rather the information-gathering part. You're always at the mercy [in this case] of service providers; for example when they change policies or if they 'opt-in' for you by default. I’ve had an image hosting provider turned my private photos public by default before. Thankfully I didn’t have many photos in that account and the photos were not so private in nature. Going back to Google, I have to say that Google has so far never done anything like that to me. But when was the last time you actually did read and understand the terms and conditions of a service? Recently? Every time? I guess it's just me then.

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