Apple, Facebook, and Google have soaked up a huge percentage of humanity’s wealth. Why aren’t they enriching our lives more?
Since I’m a Gmail user, let’s take Google as an example. Google knew that I was going to Moscow (itinerary emailed to my Gmail address). Google knew my schedule (Calendar). Google should know my various interests by now, from reading my Gmail messages and Docs content. Due to me being of such an advanced age that I still use email rather than text, Google definitely knows my real social network (the people with whom I correspond via email).
Why didn’t Google suggest to me a whole bunch of cultural events? People to meet? Groups to join? The stuff that Google tries to help with is stuff that was already pretty easy to do in the pre-Internet days, e.g., book a hotel or airline ticket. Even in those areas, Google is simply following the mid-1990s leaders such as Expedia.
I don’t think that one can argue that enriching lives is unprofitable and therefore these profit-seeking companies aren’t interested. Selling tickets to events should lead to commissions. Connecting people to meet in public places, such as restaurants or bars, should also lead to commissions. These could be a lot more lucrative than what Google gets from selling mouse clicks.
Readers: if we assume that human boredom leads to a lot of purchases, e.g., of movies and games, why aren’t companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google chasing this market through actual social connections?