Interesting post from Ryan Whitwam, arguing that Google as an ISP is actually a very good thing. I’m still skeptical, but Whitwam makes an excellent point with this:
For Google’s business to remain strong, it needs us to use the services and feed in more data. However, Google knows full well that if it loses the public’s trust, its business goes down the tubes. It simply cannot afford to do anything untoward as an ISP unless it wants to risk its real source of income: our data.
He’s right that it is in Google’s best interest to “not be evil” with regards to their ISP service, but I also think there is a secondary problem with this argument. What I, and other geeks, see as “evil” — most users just see as no big deal. If you told my mom she could have free internet, but Google gets more data about her, she wouldn’t even hear the words past “free internet”.
That’s the reality. I think Google will try to be a good, respectful ISP, but I think they also know that they don’t always have to be.