Random Thoughts

Google Slowly taking over my life

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This morning I woke up at 4:30am to call my bank back in America to do a wire transfer for our Winter Trip to Tanzania (Hiking Kilimanjaro, a Safari, and Zanzabar…yeah….we’re stoked!). I decided to use Google Talk via my Gmail account as I have become increasingly frustrated with the quality of Skype calls and I notice the other day my Google Voice account is now accessible here in Thailand. When I called my bank I let them know I was calling from Thailand, the bank assistant on the other end couldn’t get over how clear the call was. “Are you really in Bangkok, cause this is clearer than most calls I get locally.” There was no delay, no feedback….it was a crystal clear fantastic call.

Then at 7:30am this morning I had a Google Video Chat with some students in a Plymouth State University class (the same class I use to teach online and is now taught by one of the students I had in the program Kim Tufts). Again perfect audio and perfect video.

As I reflect I find that Google is slowly taking over most of my online life. There are already over 1000 people following me on Google+…by far the fastest professional network I’ve grown (more on Google+ changing my network later). 

Is this a good thing? I hear people say all the time “I don’t like trusting one company with all my information”. But don’t we do this often?

Most of us only have one bank….we trust them with all our financial information.

Most of us only have one doctor….we turst them with all our medical records.

Most of us have a credit card….we trust them with our credit history.

I choose Google because it works and I trust them.

Am I a Google fan boy? Yes….I’ll admit it…I love their products and there overall approach to innovation. They excel at “Failing Forward” and they’re willing to fail in the name of progress and innovation…..and that excites me.

Here’s a recap of my Google Life:

3 Active Google Apps Accounts: Personal, COETAIL, School

Professional Network: Google+

Voice over IP: Google Voice

Video Chat: Google Hangout/Gmail Chat

Phone: Android HTC Incredible S

Do I trust Google with all my information? 

Just as much as I trust Apple iTunes with my music, books, and podcasts and Amazon with my online purchase history. 

At the end of the day you have to trust someone….and to be honest I trust all of these companies more than I trust the hard drive in this computer, or the driver in the car next to me as I write this.

Until they fail me they’ve earned my trust.

Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Alain Bachellier

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Hey Jeff,

    It’s great to have someone out there setting up a trust of their own that I can lean on when I start exploring Google more. Right now, it (the Google Word) seems too big for me to get my very limited brain resources around.

    We lived in Arusha for 4 years, and still have lots of friends there. Let me know if you are still looking for safaris, etc. It is going to be an unbelievable trip (kinda expensive, but worth every shilling). I lived there for 4 years, and I’m jealous!

    All the best,


    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Thanks Marcello!

      We’ve pretty much got the how trip planned and paid for at this point so now it’s just making it to the top of the Mountain and hoping we see the big 5.

      Looking forward to it!

    • @Jeff – I’ll check out Duma Explorer and anxiously await your full report!
      @Marcello – we haven’t booked yet so always happy for ideas

  2. Great. Kili is a grind, but amazing. Any news on the full online COETAIL that I keep busting your chops about? You had mentioned perhaps January.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Yep….we’re a go to start an online cohort. Getting everything in place now and hoping to announce next week. First course to start in February after everyone returns from winter break.

  3. Loving Google right now – have yet to try Google Voice, but now I will. I’m convinced Google is going to revolutionize education as well. Any phone advice? I’m in the market, debating between a Droid and an iPhone—thanks for the post.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      I had an iPhone and switched to Android. I like the widgets and the user experience better. That being said at the end of the day they both do the same thing, have the same apps and are both great phones. As I recommend to others if you already are Apple everything else it makes sense to stick with an iPhone. If you want to save money (here in Asia at least where you have to buy phones out right now with a contract Android based phones are $300-600 cheaper) then I recommend an Android based phone.

      I love anything that HTC makes and the new Samsung Galaxy S II is pretty sweet as well.

  4. Ya, I love Google too, but it is your Christmas trip that inspired this comment! 🙂 That is our trip next Christmas, exactly. We are just about to finalize plans. I would love to know who you are using and what you have learned. We are leaning towards DETASA. Thoughts?

  5. Hi Jeff,
    I sure enjoy reading your posts (and your book.) I like a lot of things about Google as well. I certainly couldn’t spell without it. Am just beginning to explore Google +. I actually tried Google voice earlier this year. The people I called couldn’t hear me at all and I couldn’t find a fix so gave up. I will now have to look more diligently for a solution.

  6. I like the way people say ‘let’s google it’. It is amazing that you do not have to say ‘ let’s find the information via google.’ I think this company is good at attracting users in a way that google site is simply structured or organized. This is almost the second school year since our school has started using google as our official communication tool. So far so great! The more I know about what google can do for us or what we can do with it, the more positive I feel towards this search engine, which initially I thought google was meant for. Yet it has a lot of other unknown features, which are hard to be recognized at first hand since it does not announce (or in another words ‘show off’) on the google interface what kinds of applications it has. Although the concept of all shared/private applications or documents in one site accessible from anywhere with your account is now everywhere, I am sure google company has established its own sustainable brand, which has got extra values other than just the search engine, and I am excited to discover unknown features of google, which I have not come across yet.

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