Google+ or minus?

The recent launch of Google+ has reignited the debate surrounding internet privacy.

Ruler of the digital era

With a net worth of US $190 billion Google Inc is by far the world’s largest internet technology company. It has made inroads into most facets of the technological world since its official inception in 1997.

For many years it dominated the online landscape as a simple search engine but more recently it has challenged the might of Apple with Android, toppled Hotmail with its own email service, Gmail, and is now sending out a fierce challenge to Facebook with the release of Google+.  Scroll through the timeline above to find out more about six of Google’s largest products and some of the privacy issues that surround them.

For users though, Google products have revolutionised communication.

We asked users what they thought were the best products created under the Google banner.

“I use Gmail for all my email, professional and personal, and Google Maps typically on my phone when I am going somewhere. I use Google Scholar to find journal articles for almost all research based assignments and just normal Google Search for general information,” said Cameron Bennet, a UQ medicine student at Herston.

“Google Maps is the best, I use it all the time on my iPhone 4,” grins Alex Livingstone, a physics researcher at QUT. “Which is odd because doesn’t Apple hate Google?”

Indeed they do. The late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, said in his authorised biography, that he would “destroy Android and Google”. He accused Google of stealing ideas from Apple despite the fact that the iPod and subsequent releases were based on mp3’s that came before it.

Claudia Rutherford, of All Hallows in Fortitude Valley, says that Android is an improvement to iOS. “Ice Cream Sandwich [the Android Operating System] is more functional and better to customise than the iPhone,” she said.

With Moto, Acer, Asus and HTC announcing they will be running Ice Cream Sandwich, it seems the race is on in the smart phone department.

“No matter what, Google search will always be the most used and the best Google product,” says General Pants worker Tom O’Reilly. “I use Google Search everyday, to find names, music, movies, quotes, websites, everything!”

This is a point agreed upon by many, including QML pathologist Mitchell Rawlings: “Google search on Google Chrome, the ultimate. Google is everywhere.”

By James Jackson and Michael Nugent