Eine Identität, ein Netz, eine Firma.


Having spent most of my weekend moving1, I haven’t had much time to miss the fact that I don’t yet have Innerwebs at the New Hotness.2
Being the geek that I am, I of course called Comcast to set up a deactivate/reactivate service appointment, and they promptly showed up on moving day, but then after about a rousing twenty-minute round of “coax cable hunt,” followed by bothering my [new] downstairs neighbor to find out why the cable goes into her balcony, but does not pop out of the floor of mine, I get some sordid tale involving remodeling-gone-wrong-three-years-ago-and-the-cable-was-broken-after-that-
Or something like that.
Not such a huge deal since I’ve been busy packing, unpacking, and repacking. But since I decided to take it easy tonight, I really started jonesing for the Series of Tubes.
On a lark, I decided to see if there were any open Whee-fee access points. I’m still in Mountain View, so I wasn’t too surprised when my laptop associated with an access point called “GoogleWiFi.”
I had never used it before, but knowing Google and their penchant for recording-every-single-thing-any-user-ever-searches-for, I wasn’t very surprised when they wanted me to log in with my Gmail account before I could do anything.
In some sense, while it kinda grates on me, I admit that I can’t complain about it too much. I’ll also openly say: I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the service3; and they don’t seem to filter out things like outbound ssh and such.4
(It also makes me wonder how many Mountain View-ites are completely basking in Google-backed electromagnetic radiation, since I have no idea where the Google access point is, but I’m writing this from my bed in my new apartment, and I’m getting an average of 44 msec ping times to the default gateway with about four percent packet loss.)
But none of that is actually what I was thinking about when I started writing this.
No, what prompted this particular episode of blahginess was the blatant [and somewhat unsettling] realization of how much I happen to rely on a particular entity (to say nothing of that entity being a privately traded corporation) to provide me with a chunk of my daily Internet experience.
This realization took form after I clicked on someone’s Picassa web album, linked to from a blog post indexed by Google Reader, all served up by [some AP claiming to be] GoogleWiFi.
As I traced back my steps of my quick checkin this evening, I’ve spent most of it on Google properties: Gmail, Reader, Google News.
And I don’t know how I feel about that.5
Either way, it now makes the prospect of those saying there will be a “shadow GoogleNet” that we’ll all be using in 5ish years less… insane-sounding.
But, until the home owner’s association can get its butt in gear to get stuff fixed6, I’m pleasantly surprised such a service exists and actually works… and will gladly use it to let you all know that I’m somewhat troubled by the thoughts I’m having while mulling over its privacy- and future-of-the-Internet-implications as I do so.
1 One almost-down, five to go
2 As rhelmer would tell you, this has been my new catch phrase over the last week. “New Vista-Signing Hotness.” “New BuildBot Hotness.” Etc. Yes, It’s pretty 1995-ish.
3 Which is to say it actually works, and is usable
4 Which, if I really cared about the privacy implications, I would shunt all of my web traffic through an ssh proxy. I won’t, however, be using this particular link to be doing any Interwebs banking.
5 Of course, it can’t be very great and/or squee-u-lar, since I took the time to write this…
6 That’s not me being purposefully vague; I don’t think anyone really knows what the problem is, and thus any solutions are still scary and mysterious.