I've asked the question many ways in recent years to spark conversations. If you type the question of "Who is more powerful Google or Microsoft?" into a search engine, hopefully somewhere close to the top you will see an article I wrote on Yahoo Voices on March 7, 2011. (At the time of this writing it comes up near the top of Google and Bing for me.)
Amazing how much the trends have held form over the last two years. Google keeps pushing technology on the upswing and Microsoft fights to hold on to the market they have.
When I ask the question "Who is more powerful Google or Microsoft?" there are probably a few people screaming at their monitor. What about Apple? What about Facebook?
So what about them? Yes, there is no denying that Apple and Facebook are major players in technology. But when you are looking for a full fledged fight of who dominates the world of technology on a blow by blow match up, nothing quite measures up to the battle between Google and Microsoft.
The big news for the past few weeks has been the story of former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden who told the UK's Guardian newspaper that the US government is accessing the web servers of some of the biggest internet services for the purpose of data mining.
The former NSA contractor has sure made a name for himself. It all seems to be over the top cloak and dagger the way things have worked out. First he leaked the information to a UK newspaper. Then his identity was revealed to the world a few days later. Now he gives exclusive interviews to the South China Morning Post. Conveniently he seeks asylum in China, tells his story only to a Chinese newspaper, and then starts dribbling out tidbits of information such as the U.S. government has been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and China for years.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has given Snowden his support. Maybe Assange is a bit jealous the way Snowden has milked the spotlight and made himself a cult hero.
Snowden revealed a few specifics about PRISM, a surveillance data mining program which allegedly taps directly into the central servers of leading internet companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube, to obtain audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and other information that enable analysts to track foreign targets.
Does that fact that the NSA may gathering intelligence from the conversations and interactions of average Americans on the internet and airwaves come as a surprise to you? It shouldn't!