Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

Summary: I'm all for breaking down data silos, but when Google knows more about me than my wife I get a bit worried.

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TOPICS: Apps, Google
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Google has updated its privacy policy in a way that breaks down product silos, but allows the search giant to mine data across all of its services.

In a blog post, Google outlined the changes. These changes are the enterprise Holy Grail in many respects. Companies everywhere want to break down product walls to get a 360 degree view of customers. The difference with Google is reach and it is actually succeeding. In a nutshell, Google is:

  • Making its privacy policies easier to read.
  • Aggregating data across products for Google and user experience.
  • And arguing that it's easier to take your data and go somewhere else.

Here's how this boils down for this Google user between work and personal uses.

The good: Anything that simplifies privacy policies makes sense---even if you may not agree with them. Google has 70 privacy documents today. That will be boiled down to one privacy policy.

The bad: Unified user experience aside, it was kind of nice to have my YouTube personas different from say, Gmail and Google+. Philosophically it makes sense. Emotionally I'm not so sure I'm on board the one for all approach.

The scary: Google will know more about you than your wife does. Everything across your screens will be integrated and tracked. Google noted that it collects information you provide, data from your usage, device information and location. Unique applications are also noted. Sure you can use Google's dashboard and ad manager to cut things out, but this policy feels Big Brother-ish. Google is watching you as long as you are logged in. It's also unclear whether this privacy policy move will be considered bundling in some way by regulators. This unified experience hook appears to be at least partially aimed at juicing Google+. Google responded with clarification: Google noted that it already has all that data, but it's now integrating that information across products. It's a change in how Google will use the data not what it collects. In other words, Google already knows more about you than your wife.

The bottom line here is that you should start perusing Google's terms of service and privacy policies pronto.

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Topics: Apps, Google

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152 comments
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  • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

    The answer, of course, is different profiles used with different browsers. Oh, did I just suggest something completely and utterly anti-Google? I'm bereft.
    afmarcom
    • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

      @afmarcom thats something that I've been doing for a while and make sure my gmail account is logged out when doing any searching on the internet
      RIAAsucks
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @RIAAsucks
        That's safe because they don't record your IP address or anything like that???
        dbeecher@...
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @RIAAsucks You don't have to be logged in for them to track you. Ever hear of super cookies?
        William_P
      • Another thing I do...

        @RIAAsucks ...is to avoid logging into my gmail account through a web browser as much as possible. I have the Thunderbird email client from Mozilla set up to get my Gmail so starting a session and logging in through the web browser is not nessesary. I do also get gmail on my android phone, but that's almost unavoidable. So I have a separate account that I only use for syncing my apps and such on the phone. The combination of not using a web browser for gmail and also having different accounts for different purposes (they are free after all) will hopefully minimize the intrusions.

        One thing we should all recognize though is that there is no free lunch. The services Google offers cost them money and they are not providing them just to be nice guys. They are in business to make money and they give you the services for free because they make their money in other ways...such as data mining. There are advantages to be had with paid services...though I guess just because I pay for it doesn't mean my ISP isn't selling my data too.
        cornpie
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @RIAAsucks

        logout and use the incognito mode
        gupt009
    • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

      @afmarcom
      irrelevant. they know who you are by your IP address. You have to use an anonymous proxy service.
      dbeecher@...
    • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

      @afmarcom <br>everybody think's google's IPO was huge because they are a search engine. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Their true value is in what they know about YOU. ALL OF YOU. Their entire research/search department full of PhD's is focused entirely on figuring out everything they can about you so that they can sell access to you with a level of certainty to other marketing firms. From a legal perspective, the "dossier" that AOL, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others have on YOU is considered to be the most accurate picture of "who you are" and can be used against you in court.
      dbeecher@...
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @dbeecher@... 1000% in agreement! If someone, neighbor or just some crook, did the same thing sans the computer. For example, opened and read your home mail, stole your bank account info, etc.,etc, they'd get caught and locked up. But because it's Google it's A-Okay. Makes 100% sense to me!
        "ET PHONE HOME, UPDATE MY PERSONAL INFO, STEAL MY INFO" it's okay because your Google. Such poppycock, B.S., etc. Google wouldn't misuse or sell my info. My foot!
        I've tried to un-Google myself by removing ANYTHING Google from my computers. Won't use Chrome, Picasso, removed all Google tool bars, etc. I think I'm Google free but still looking.
        Whats even scarier is now when you download a program you HAVE to make sure when you click on the install to watch out for and/ or deselect any checked boxes asking to install some thing Google. It is ALWAYS preselected for you, YOU must deselect it yourself!!! Installers beware, don't just blindly click all install screens. You might just be installing snoopware, spyware ergo something Google.
        Hell, even the FBI is supposed to get a judges permission before doing a wiretap, showing just cause yet people invite Google to do the same thing daily, hourly!!!!
        I wouldn't even trust toilet paper from Google as they're probably trying to figure out what I had for supper!!!! Although it would interesting to see it try to phone home from the sewer pipes! ROFLMAO! The CIA ain't got nothing on Google, wait a minute, maybe they're one and the same????
        Disgruntled_MS_User
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @dbeecher@... Google should be required to, upon request and under penalty of perjury, send you "your file". This should become law.
        opcom
      • disgruntled M$ User. Isn't it better to pay up front...than for....

        the rest of your life with Google?
        Windows doesn't monitor you. And Win7 is a great OS for any kind of work or play. It's the best I've every used.
        But, make sure you check your TASK SCHEDULER and delete ALL GOOGLE tasks.
        they will remain and keep running after you've removed all things Google.
        I know, because I did just that and there they were, still active and running daily. What are they really doing? How can they be running w/o error if there is no Google software to update? hmmmm.
        GOOGLE is not to be trusted, ever.
        xuniL_z
    • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

      @afmarcom Good! I do this, and also provide incorrect "required information" when siging up anywhere.

      A program to allow one to spoof the MAC address of one's ethernet card would be good. the MAC address is a unique number. So, wherever it is, you are! I believe this gets sent out with your internet communications, someone correct me if I am wrong.
      opcom
  • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

    Google doesn't know more about me than my wife because I avoid them and their "services". I won't even send email to someone with a Gmail account.
    lippidp
    • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

      @lippidp What do you fear will happen if you e-mail a GMail address?
      jgm@...
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @jgm@...
        Google will read it.

        I, too, am wary of communicating with users of gmail.
        x I'm tc
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @jgm@... I wondered the same thing. It's akin to the "everyone is out to get me" belief. Things like the "I turn off my JS and can't see 99% of the internet, because I heard JS could steal my info" arguments come to mind in this situation. It's also indicative not only of a paranoid behavior, but of an inflated self worth. It's a belief that anyone in the corporate/private sector would actually care about your LOLs that you send to your 1337 buddies. <br><br>These private organizations, that have only financial interest in you, and are bound by privacy laws, should not be your main concern. The government passing laws to have your ISP track and report every move and every keystroke you make, combined with the stipulation that you'd be found guilty until you could prove yourself innocent, should be of greater concern (or is it just me?). We know their (the goverrnment's) ultimate goal is not to profit off of advertising, which leaves only the more sinister purposes people unnecessarily worry about with these private industries.
        thoiness
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @jgm@... [i] I wondered the same thing. It's akin to the "everyone is out to get me" belief.[/i]

        You ARE aware a Google employee got busted for doing it.... right?
        Badgered
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @jgm@... the question really is about what can we predict will happen as result of collecting and collating this data. No-one will get shot or stabbed, so the physical element is not an issue. However, create something of value (a person's life information), and organisations that see the value will hunt it down and use it for THEIR purposes. There may be occasions where the use of the information is of value to the individual it refers to, but mostly and emphatically, it will be of advantage to the organisation using the info. Those organsations can span anything from government control, through commerce, to organised and individual crime.
        I do not trust google or any other organisation to care enough about me and my information as to look after it inperpetuity, and to only use it for honourable purposes to which I agree.
        How many of you have received spam from companies that you know you opted out of their marketing email?
        No foil caps for me - I prefer an upfront challenge expressing MY rights and needs, and that those be respected.
        ZiggerZagger
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @Badgered You just solidified my response with this word: "Busted." Indicating it's illegal, prosecutable, and that no information ascertained can be used against you or distributed.<br><br>On the government side of thing, they are passing bills to change the rules for themselves (without probable cause or judicial order).<br><br>I don't know about you, but I care about the second more than the first. People can come to my house, open my mailbox, grab my mail and read it, and they can go to prison for that. I'd be more worried about the government stating they were going to read my mail, and prosecute me and instantly deny me mail service (or imprison me?) for life if they found something they didn't like. Call me crazy, but everyone is focused on the wrong things and being paranoid schizos for the wrong reasons...
        thoiness
      • RE: Google's new privacy policy: The good, bad, scary

        @jgm@...
        google keeps track of "who knows who". If you email a person with a gmail address they record the IP address where it came from, who you are, and who you emailed. THEN they associate your data as a "known contact" with the person you emailed.
        dbeecher@...