Google's watching

If search engines could talk, what would they say? Now that it's acquiring giant advertising network DoubleClick, Google could potentially say a lot more about you.

For the most part, the company is making the right kinds of noises about building walls between its different collections of data. But remember when everyone was worried about Eschelon, the US secret intelligence project that would monitor phone calls, email, and other data? Let's run down all the Google services most people use: you have Gmail, Docs & Spreadsheets, Calendar, text and voice chat through the still-in-beta Google Talk, shopping at Google Product Search - and of course everything begins with Web search. Throw all of that together, and Google could probably do a good Eschelon impression.

And while the company's motto is "Don't be evil," giant data repositories always attract attention - from hackers, governments, and corporations. That's cool, though. Governments and corporations always have everyone's best interests at heart.

Mobile makeover

If you can't get something as useful as an Apple iPhone, why not go for a mobile phone that's as weird as the Apple iPod is cool? Actually, I can think of several reasons, but none of them will stop phone vendors from releasing their latest crop of wild features.

LG is working on a phone in Korea that borrows from Philips' Ambilight TV concept, flashing colours that match the video you play; it rumbles at preset moments, too. Why? I have no idea.

Then there's NTT DoCoMo's Wii-like, motion-sensing phone, which could be neat if I could figure out what to use that for.

Next up will be a phone that automatically asks for a refund when it senses me throwing it across a room after I've realised how silly it is.