How Apple, Google and Facebook Will Take Away Your Control: Page 2

Computing technology is making more and more of our choices for us.
Posted October 5, 2011

Mike Elgan

(Page 2 of 2)

If you’re clever, you can painstakingly turn off censorship for your own stream. But there’s nothing you can do about having your own posts censored.

Google and Facebook are only the biggest examples. Hundreds of companies do this.

Customization is more than just a fact. It’s a trend. Over time, search results and social streams will become increasingly customized. And by customized, I mean that software will make decisions for you about what you see.

Your results and social streams will become more relevant and satisfying to you, but you will lose control over what you see and what you don’t.

Information Appliances

The evolution of consumer devices has always moved in the direction of more power and less control.

In the early days, to use a PC was to program it. They were toys for tinkering hobbyists. Those PCs didn’t do much, but what they did do you controlled absolutely. With every new advancement, power went up and control went down.

By around 2000 or so, the age of the PC “power user” was on the decline, with far more users wanting PCs to “just work” and not be something that had to be managed, maintained, optimized and customized.

Apple was first to satisfy this enormous demand with the iPad, the first mainstream consumer PC that was a true information appliance. Everything from application development to app updates to app-hardware interfaces is locked down tight.

There’s almost no way to optimize an iPad’s performance. You can’t really customize it. You can’t even do file management; user data files are accessible only from inside apps.

To the dismay of the power users, this information appliance concept is the future of all mainstream consumer computers. Our desktop computers will soon work a lot more like the iPad.

Apple OS X Lion was radically augmented with iPad-like controls. Microsoft’s Windows 8 will default to the Metro UI, which represents a step toward Windows becoming a platform for information appliances.

And, of course, Android is going to be used by all kinds of consumer electronics companies to create information appliances in every size.

Information appliances will give us ease of use with reduced tech support hassles. But they’ll also take away the control we once had over our personal computers.

Silicon Valley is inventing the future again. And with every breathtaking new advancement comes a serious loss of control.

Is the future of technology good or bad? As always, the answer is yes.

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Tags: Facebook, Google, PC, Apple

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