In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.
The must-have app on the iPhone is not iMessage. It’s not iTunes or Safari or even Find My iPhone. It’s Instagram, the photo-sharing app that once described itself as “quirky.” Cultish would be more appropriate these days.
Imagine you woke up tomorrow and Google was gone. You would still be able to search the Web. You could still send email. You could still use maps, make phone calls, watch videos, network with friends, write blog posts. There would be a period of adjustment, and it would be incredibly inconvenient but you would get by. There are other options. Some would feel it more than others; Google is a tool of the masses. Despite more than 20 years of the World Wide Web and more than 35 of personal computers, the Internet is still a very troubling place for many people. Google is the cipher they use to make sense of the chaos.
See also: How Google Dominates Us, James Gleick