Why are people attacking Google buses?

By Ev Bogue - December 25th 2013

When I lived in San Francisco’s Mission district in 2010, my rent was $800. When I lived there in 2012, my rent was $1,600. When I tried to live there again in 2013, I couldn’t afford it. So I went to Oakland for a few months. Then I left the bay, because there’s no advantage to being there.

Most of the time I try to pretend Google doesn’t exist. It feels to me the best way to protest is to avoid the centralized Internet.

Google’s in a very unfortunate position right now. They have an extraordinary stock price, but they’ve lost credability. People want to stop using their services, but most aren’t technically savvy enough to change their habits. They’ve done wrong in the NSA scandal, but haven’t admitted guilt.

And of course, the number one reason why people are attacking Google buses is the following: Google employees aren’t seen as doing anything.

They just go to work every day to sip on fresh coconuts. Every two weeks they get a huge paycheck. Then they come back to The Mission or Oakland and drive up housing prices. This isn’t about gentrification, as some people are making it. It’s about how pissed people are a Google.

And it’s a weird kind of self-hatred, because I bet if you polled the kid who broke the window in the Google bus, he probably still has a Gmail account. Most people do.

I don’t have a Google account. Because when I saw the whole system turning out to be worthless, I got out. I started to look for new options. I decided to focus my attention on the open web. As bitter as I might be, and as much as I grumble, at least I’m not living in this awkward place where I hate myself for using a product can’t support.

It all goes back to ‘live the change you want to see in the world.’ If you think Google is evil, don’t use Google. Eventually their stock price will collapse, the company will shrivel up and die, and the talentless ex-programers they hand paychecks to every other week will go find other things to do with their lives.

The unfortunate problem for Google is they became the most respected tech company in the United States by being respectable. Now that we no longer respect their choices, it’s time to leave.

Take five minutes and brainstorm alternatives to Google, and then attempt to implement using them in your own life.

Search is obvious. There aren’t secure alternatives to email, but you can figure out pop3. Go back to deleting your emails after you read them, I do. Delete all of the messages in your gmail account, you’ll find they aren’t important anyway. To video chat with someone over the web, use WebRTC. IRC is a great way to socialize with smart people who don’t hate themselves. Any other ideas? Email me suggestions.

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