» When free isn’t

Serenity Caldwell on the implicit costs of using Google’s services:

The millions of people who sign up for free Google services agree to terms and conditions that give the company permission to access certain subsets of any information you put online.

In plain English, that means being able to sell custom ads against your data: showing you a Nordstrom ad for shoes, for instance, because Google knows from search or web history that you looked at some yesterday, or from Gmail that you purchased heels at the store last week.

The company uses this data to sell to advertisers, and advertisers in turn get a much closer look at you, your spending habits, and your daily activities.

Marco Arment has a similar piece about why, though he recognizes both Google and Apple have their pros and cons, he prefers Apple’s products and services. His reasoning is pretty similar to mine.

Over at Business Insider, meanwhile, one of their clumps of wadded up animal by-product waxes poetic about how Google is simply better because it’s available to more people because so many of its services are free and its products are cheaper (I won’t link to it). He doesn’t mention ads or data mining at all, of course.

If you prefer Google’s offerings despite these implicit costs, that’s fine. But if you don’t at least consider them you’re just kidding yourself.