Ben is surprised that the shareholders are ok with the Google mentality of giving so much away (I doubt he is. It's just a literary device). I think it is a brilliant and terrible strategy. Let me put on my tinfoil hat for a bit.
Here's the Google business in a nutshell:
Monitor your curiosity
Monitor your email
Monitor your business documents
Monitor your investments
Monitor your reading habits
Monitor your medical records(shutdown now)
Monitor your phone calls
Monitor your web browsing
Monitor your trips
Monitor where you go
Monitor what you buy
Monitor the apps you use
Monitor the music you listen to
Monitor your entertainment
Monitor what you see and hear.
Build a logical model of how you make decisions and sell ads to leverage that model. It's simple1 and lucrative. It's also not a future I am looking forward to.
For anyone jumping up and down about how everyone is trying to do the same thing:
Yes they are. Still doesn't make me like it any more. I'd rather pay for a service that is trying to sell me more of their hardware, than get a service for free that is trying to sell me more of everything.
I have one departing question.