Google is Like a Bank
I have heard the notion of Google being analogous to a bank for a number of years. Recently, Jim Sterne also referred to this bank analogy while we were discussing online privacy at the Orion Analytics panel of SES London . So I wanted share and expand upon this discussion.
Please take a moment to read my disclaimer before continuing – that is, the views express on this site are entirely my own and do not represent those of my employer.
Is Google entering into online banking?
In this respect no (I am not considering Checkout here). What I mean by being analogous to a bank, is in the way that data itself has become "currency". Information has always been valuable – no one likes to be the last to know, and being the first to know gives you a competitive advantage. So whether online or not, the storage and access of data, its security and privacy, is of paramount importance to anyone who hands over information to be stored by a third party.
That is pretty much everybody with Internet access and includes individuals, small businesses and corporations alike. Google occupying such a strong online position – the conduit for many people to find information, products, businesses etc. obviously has an important role to play when it come to data privacy and security.
It’s important that privacy and security have no intrinsic value
A key factor that makes a good, secure and private data storage system, is the strict application of a one size fits all privacy and security policy. That is, regardless of whether you are one of the worlds largest brands spending millions of dollars on operations, manufacturing or marketing, or a small company selling your handicrafts locally – your data should be treated with equal importance.
As an example, imagine if a search engine or bank provided a greater level of security and privacy to large advertisers rather than smaller advertisers (or to those that saved more than others). Even the perception of such a practice would be disastrous for the organisation in charge of protecting your data "currency". You of course want bullet proof controls whether you save $1 or $100 million dollars. That is how the banking system works and is also how Google operates with respect to handling all visitor and customer data.