How do search engines steal from you (privacy and knowledge) and get more powerful?
You are a brain surgeon - you’ve studied long hours for many years. You’ve damaged your sight from reading a lot, at night, with poor lighting, on your phone, on Kindle... And to prevent vomiting at your first autopsies as a student, you’ve started smoking. Endless years of practice and then more learning, reading all the time - paper books, digital books, crappy web, better web, rarely amazing web.
Then you do a search on a very specific, deeply professional, highly niche subject, using a search engine that tracks you. Search engines do track you - they remember and save your searches somewhere (most of the well known ones certainly do it).
In some other places in the world there may also be unicorns like you - because they are in demand. They search the web. Likewise, search engines track them and record their searches (very specific, deeply professional, highly niche subjects).
Distilled from your search subject, search engines track a lot of things - spelling, word order, language structure, capitalization, the time you searched, your location... needless to go into further details.
They can’t help it - addiction to getting more an more information is overwhelming. You are using their browsers, syncing across devices, etc. Tell them everything, they can surely take it. It’s endless.
Then, on top of recording and updating your own search ledger in their empire data storage, they do the graph nucleus tree, and trust me - they are good at it.
Your search is cross correlated to similar ones - closer or distant related. So, they get to your soulmate colleagues across planet earth or other planets.
They connect the dots.
On top of it, they connect and correlate from each person’s single dot more dots. Single dots are the close or distant similar professional subject, on account of which you started smoking before dissections. More dots are other subjects you or your unicorn soulmates have searched for.
That is how power expands.
In that way they use your knowledge, linked with the knowledge of soulmates, all connected to everyone’s ledger - to get more powerful - like a sith lord.
And then - how do they monetize this sith lord power? That’s the easy part. Start by not sharing the empire’s data storage.