...it tells us everything.
Exactly. Which people who don't think outside the box will see "everything" as "we have nothing to worry about, they only go after terrorists and the ends justify the means". Meanwhile, there is no "official" "authority" that this guy can allude to publicly, most likely because intricate details of exactly what they're collecting and prevention of abuse of the system is "classified", so how would we ever really know? Fuck we wouldn't know shit at all if Snowden didn't have the balls to do what he did. I'd say trust me that this is only the tip of the iceberg with the shit the NSA, etc. has going on, but hey I tend to research and think critically about things, something that is frowned upon and discouraged by tptb.
For search, try Start Page, which uses Google as a backend (sort've like Scroogle did back in it's day).
I don't see what's the big deal about having a plethora of possibilities. I personally have run Arch+KDE4 for the past few years and have loved it. Why? Because it works for ME, and I can customize, adjust, etc. things just the way I want them, which is very likely unique to my needs and probably wouldn't be great for someone else to use. But that's the beauty of running Linux on the desktop, you can configure the 'appliance' for your specific need rather than be confined to what someone else thinks is the best way to run a GUI.
I don't find fragmentation much of an issue -- but then, I'm not exactly a zealot, I love to tinker (and thus can usually get anything to work regardless of whether or not their is a special "package" built for my distro of choice), and believe people should use what they think fits them best -- even if that's Windows or OSX.
Don't worry. The next time you see it coming because you understand this concept of a "track record" or have read a little history, you'll still be called a tin-foil hatter.
Just until the next big revelation occurs, then it'll be "wow how could the government be so out of control", etc. Unfortunately thinking outside the box is lost on the majority, either ignorantly or willfully.