Something is truly free

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While Google is the easiest example here, it is not the only company that profits by offering “free” things. Every tech company, including Apple, who really hates to admit being part of all this, profits by collecting your personal data. And every one of them does plenty of collecting.

Everything that is free is liked by everyone. For those items, we have a word we like to use a lot: free. However, nothing is truly “free” when it comes to technology, even if you don’t pay money for it. This applies to both small and large things. No matter what frivolous time-waster you enjoy playing occasionally or the extensive list of services that come with your phone, none of them are truly free because you are paying for them in some other way. Everyone is aware, I believe, that the services you receive from Google are actually paid for with your personal data. A glance at any of Google’s financial reports demonstrates that the corporation is aware of the importance of this data.

Highlights

  • This isn’t going to change anytime soon, and maybe it shouldn’t. It’s evident that consumers are OK with these practices, and even a cranky tech nerd like me who takes the time to write about them is more than happy to participate. Maybe we benefit from free/not-really-free things enough to justify their existence.

  • This doesn’t only apply to companies that exchange services for an alternative means of profit like Google does. Sometimes “free” services are used as bait to get you to buy a more expensive product or to lure you towards a specific brand. “Free” products often accompany a pre-order of an expensive product, like getting a pair of earbuds if you commit to buying an expensive new phone. Or you might even get access to premium streaming subscriptions if you choose a certain cell provider.

Or maybe the world governments will think they can make meaningful change by stepping and forcing regulations prohibiting or limiting the practice. I doubt it, and anyone old enough to remember “regular” television where you saw a paid commercial every 19 minutes knows the government was just fine with “free” broadcast television. Yeah, this practice isn’t new at all. Only the way we consume it has changed. Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There’s nothing he can’t take apart, but many things he can’t reassemble. You’ll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

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