Ten years ago a search engine service by the name of "Google" appeared. With its page ranking system and related searches, it quickly gained popularity and grew to be the #1 search engine.
In 2002 Google made the search algorithm corporate and sold it to enterprises.
In 2004 they released gMail with its innovative ad-targeting system which looks at our e-mails for keywords. Over time came Google Maps, Froogle, gTalk, Picasa, iGoogle and many others.
Just recently Google released another new feature in gMail - video and voice chat - a service which (as its names implies) allows users to start a video and voice conversation from within their browser (assuming they have the hardware of course). They also released Google Flu Trends, which not many people are aware of. The idea behind Flu Trends is that by tracking search queries, Google can predict how the flu is moving sooner than the CDC can. How are they doing this? Well by tracking searches with specific keywords (like cough, fever and such) then mapping it to a region in the US, the more queries in an area, the more flu activity (in theory).
Now let us recap - Google has provided us with a number of tools over the years to find more accurate information, communicate quicker and easier, shop smarter, not get lost and even stay healthier. But at the same time, they are holding on to all this information.
At the risk of seeming like I'm proposing a "Google Conspiracy" (which I'm not) - it would seem that we are putting all of our eggs in one basket. What do I mean by this? Lets imagine that some day, some how, Google gets hacked and all this wonderful information about individuals that Google has gathered gets exposed. Remember what happened when CitiGroup got hacked? Names, socials and credit cards numbers - all gone. But if they were to hit Google, they would be getting much more that just names and credit card numbers and an address - they would essentially be getting everything that makes us... us. Search history, emails, friends lists, past conversations, pictures and even a voice sample (assuming Google is storing video and voice chat like they do with regular instant messages). If that were to happen, identity theft would be virtually unstoppable.
I'm not saying that we should not use the wonderful services provided by Google because if I did I would be a hypocrite since I use most of them my self. They are practical, convenient and work very well; but as with any web service - but I can not help wonder, have I placed my self at risk just because of convenience?