Google Strives for World Domination

A world without borders, nations, or citizens. Just friends and interests.

Ok. So the word domination may have been a bit of a trick lead. But at the Mobile World Congress, and last week in Germany, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt talked of a world where a global culture is emerging due to the influence of the web. Access to information is making everyone more connected.

People who like dirt bikes (my example not Schmidt’s) can contact and hang out (virtually) with other people that like dirt bikes whether they are in the same town or on the other side of the world.

More significantly than simply sharing hobbies though, Schmidt sees the web helping us evolve a global conscience. Despite attempts at censorship, information leaks into, and videos leak out of, countries that try and stall the growth of that conscience electronically or via physical means. The web has become the mechanism for the rally cry for many who oppose human rights violations and strive for freedom.

Of course it is the same mechanism used by terrorists to coordinate attacks, or for the disenchanted to rally in a protest that evolves into a mob that ends in violence.

Still it is hard to argue with Schmidt’s premise that cultures are changing because of what the web allows us to do. Ask any teenager about their perception of the world and you’re more likely to get a “we” versus an “us and them” type vision. Our sense of self is changing as a culture and much of that is due to the influence of the web – and Google’s role in it.

Google stands to profit from an interconnected world of course. Its currency is information. The more it has, the more we clamor for it, and the more sponsors will pay to get our attention. And there really isn’t anything wrong with that. In the grander scheme of things it helps us all more than it hurts.

So while I can imagine Schmidt singing “Imagine” side by side with John Lennon, were he alive, I’m not quite ready to hang up my citizenship yet. The idyllic vision is tempting, but fraught with dangers. The web, business, and cultural landscapes change so quickly these days who’s to say Google even exists in the future. It is all uncertain, though visionaries like Schmidt will certainly influence the direction we go.

Do you agree with Schmidt's idea of a global conscience? Is it a good or bad thing?