form a nice orderly queue
The opinion forming aspects (briefly touched on by one poster above) are the potential goldmine.
The sheep will always need water cooler micro paradigm changes to fret about, so anything with a high volume headcount to validate its sincerity will be lapped up. "8 billion users can't be wrong!" "don't miss out!" "It's a tasty treat for needy nerds!" Who cares if it's true, as long as it distracts?
I can manipulate foursquare and fb checkin data quite easily without a trending botnet. I know a couple of coffee shop managers who do it quite blatantly. An occasional free cappucino is a small price to pay for a solid web "presence", especially when customers are scarce. All the more so if the new marketing wonk at Lukewarm Latte central is an evangelical number crunching webdroid.
Sock puppetry is the most likely boom industry in this shimmering data landfill scenerio. Most PR agencies are using selective "recommendations" to improve ratings for grotty posh restaurants and overpriced hotels. They've always spun for them, but now they can do it by sitting on their arses, planting glowing praise on a zillion fly-by-night "review" sites to crank up their Google scores. Does anyone with a functioning braincell actually trust those sites?.The value of a believably detailed amoebic dysentery review of a naff restaurant, or bed bugs in the hotel, outweighs the positives by a few thousand percent. Easy peasy, because the credulity threshold is so low.
Trending on T'Witter is seen by self-appointed "opinion formers" (some form of mould?) as saleable grist for weasel wordsmiths in the political cowshed.
Trend-bending is equally useful to those interested in cutting the flow of bullshit generated by said cowshed. At macro level, a few hundred angsty emails to a local councillor can work miracles, because that's way over the size of their majority. We can play too.
For those of us who grew up in the age of innocent anonymity, where tags, aliases, screen names and so forth were the de facto standard, the odds of us giving a straight answer to a duiplicitous stupid question are minimal. Fibbing to corporate zombeez is second nature.
I didn't want a Buzz account, because it was a rubbish offering. I don't want a G+ account because it's just a means of siphoning fb networks into a blander version of the same, with bone china tea cups, petit fours, and very polite interaction with the data miners.. Their foot, your neck. Just say meh.
Bulk data (especially in petabyte quantities) is useless without intelligent analysis, and I for one wouldn't buy into Google's (or Facebook's) tilted analysis of its own relevance, anymore than I'd buy into Standard and Poor or Moody's AAA junk bond ratings. The fact that gormless business wonks are prepared to pay money for worthless information on the say so of Google and Facebook, is a matter of little concern to me.. "Two born every minute!....Do you want to know more?"
What's the worst that can happen? We can fire up the java chatties we mothballed ten years ago and do the dirty behind 256bit encypted brick walls with barely a byte perturbed Linking to photos on our ftp sites if need be.That would be anathema to the trend/marketing monkeys , because those of us who bother to create stuff are the seed stock for their wonderfully diverse content gardens. Remove the b3ta and Cheezeburger strains from the mix and watch it sterilise itself.
Corporate gentrification leads to overpricing (fiscal and social), whereby the funky bohemianauts up sticks and leave a cultural desert behind them. .
I would bet my best pair of unmatched socks that within Google's strategic heirarchy, there is a strong dweeb element who caution against blatantly mainstreaming the company into a corporate blind alley, whereby it becomes a charmless overbearing monolith like Big Blue, Microsoft or Oracle. A few doodles won't change that.