User meta data wars going way too far, Google

User meta data wars going way too far, Google

Summary: I kind of feel like my pocket has been picked of the little black book I keep there for my contacts. My contacts.

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I'm a big fan of Google, always have been. But the thirst for pulling in more users to its Google+ social network is about to turn my admiration south.

Now Google is not alone in sliding down the slippery slope of user information invasion. But they are getting too good at it, and they have a huge exploitation potential that others do not.

Google+ seems to now -- I just noticed it today -- require me to click a little box NOT to send my Google+ posts to all the contacts in MY Gmail address book that are not already on Google+.

That's right. When I have something to post to my circles of social connections on Google+ I have to opt out of not having Google send a copy of that post to all the people in my own address book via unsolicited email -- also known as spam. Kind of defeats the purpose of having circles in the first place, right?

This puts me in the place of shilling for Google+ unless I opt out. Not necessarily evil, but not benign, either.

Incidentally, if I wanted to jam all my posts to all my contacts, to spam them, I'd just blast it out to my contacts as my own email. No need for Google+.

So today I'm being held up as a spammer from those I care about most, those I intentionally put in my address book, and that I thought was still ****MY**** data even if it is -- gulp -- in the cloud on Google or iCloud or ... oh my, where ever else my once-private address book is now being sucked into.

But I do not want to spam my contacts. I'd be a fool too. And Google should not want to spam my contacts either, even if they do have Facebook envy to a foolish level.

To be fair, a lot of other Facebook wannabes are also resorting to user address book shenanigans. Path just got a whole lot of flak for outright downloading address books. Not sure if that was a bug or a feature.

And some site called ApnaCircle last month had me scrambling to stop email invites to join it from going out again and again to my contacts. That was not my intent. So I deleted my account, but had to manually delete all my contacts there too or the emails kept going out.

This is not how word of mouth marketing or social networking is supposed to work, folks. I kind of feel like my pocket has been picked of the little black book I keep there for my contacts. My contacts. Did I give up the rights to my contacts when I placed them in an address book on Gmail? Maybe I did, but not for long.

No, this filching of user data is social networking run amok, and it needs to stop.

Topics: Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

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13 comments
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  • that's envy and instigation

    against google by its lame competition.
    The Linux Geek
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    Google is evil. I know everyone loves them and the cute way they change their logo for special occasions, but there is evil lurking behind the curtains. The age-old saying "nothing in life is free" certainly applies to them and their wonderful "free" services. I will continue to avoid them at all cost.
    lippidp
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    Google is showing its true face. <br><br>It's not a big deal to do no wrongs when things go fine and your way. The true merit is to stay nice and fair also when things go wrong and you're losing, and take it all with grace. Now that's what Google can't do. They're losing out on in the web wars for users against Facebook and other services - and they try everything so they can turn the results. No price is too high for that. If they need to spam every single email address to achieve the desired result, they will do that. <br><br>Of course, they're smart enough to do that in such a way, that they bear no legal responsibility and can always blame the end-user (because for ex. he didn't check said box telling that he does NOT want to spam every single person on earth) for that. But in the end it's obvious, that they're the true culprit here. People should open their eyes for that fact.
    ff2
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    Of course you gave your contact list to Google when you subscribed to Gmail. It is in the EULA. And if it wasn't then, it is now. While Google could profile you from your searches, they can really nail you down with Gmail. Most Google apps and services require you to log in with Gmail. That makes them all spyware for Google. This is why I tell anyone who uses Gmail not to add me to their contact list.

    It is Google's business model to build profiles of their users so as to better target them with advertising. Recently, they have noticed that Facebook is getting better click throughs on ads because people spend much more time on Facebook. That is why Google is so desperate to emulate Facebook with Google+.

    The bottom line is that someday, someone in Google will realise how much money is to be made by selling profiles of millions of people and identity theft will run rampant.
    jorjitop
    • It's not just Google.....

      @jorjitop <br><br>From the moment you attached that device to the internet and started using it, from your local ISP to ALL the sites you visit, you have been donating all of your data, in many forms and in many ways, to the internet. Why are all of you so surprised by this? I can name you over 20 sites that deliberately search ALL public records and have more information on you, than you could even imagine. These sites show all your addresses you lived at, all your family members, how long, how old, etc....<br><br>The ONLY way to keep some of this information off the internet, is to never have had access. However, anything in any public records is already out there.<br><br>So blaming Google Facebook, Microsoft, and other sites for your data donations is foolish. The genie is already out of the bottle.
      linux for me
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    who cares
    i love what google gives me for free!

    do you guys remember hotmails 25mb email capacity?
    google started free massive capacity emails.
    for all the stuff they do they just encourage you to let your friend know about it. and that i can live with.
    lifeguardernie
    • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

      @lifeguardernie

      Encouraging you and doing it for you (without your consent) are not the same thing. The disturbing trend, not limited to Google, is to provide you with a service and then make changes/additions for which you're automatically opted in. You then have to either take the time to figure out the impact yourself or wait for the dust to clear and find out about it from others. I have no problem with them adding features and making changes to their products and services, but give me prior warning and make them "opt-in" where possible.

      While I use these "free services", this is why I don't post much personal info on them. People on Facebook often ask why I don't have pictures of my kids up like everyone else. Simple really. Pictures that are restricted to a group of people of my choosing today could have a completely different security structure around them tomorrow, and God only knows what <insert free service here> is doing with them behind the scenes.
      TroyMcClure
    • They don't "encourage" you to let your friends know

      @lifeguardernie
      they kind of let [b]your[/b] friends know behind your back.

      Not cool.
      William Farrel
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    Google has the conceit that it knows what is evil and what is not instead of just providing services that it customers want. I simply do not trust hubris like that. To me they far surpass Microsoft in evil empire ways, and Apple makes no bones about it being in it to make a profit. Of the big three, Google is the least trustworthy because of their conceit.
    hayneiii@...
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    "When I have something to post to my circles of social connections on Google+ I have to opt out of not having Google send a copy of that post to all the people in my own address book via unsolicited email ??? also known as spam. Kind of defeats the purpose of having circles in the first place, right?"

    I imagine Google executives (or Representatives ) would tell you that based on their research most Google+ users prefer the posts to automatically go out to everyone and therefor by setting that action as the default they best serve the needs of their users. The problem is
    (A) what research tells them this?
    (B) How was said research obtained and the how did they arrive at the conclusions they did?

    Chances are you???ll never see referred to research and while it may be legitimate research I believe most of us have come to realize that the ???Our Research Says X??? comment from any technology vendor (software or hardware) is more often than not highly questionable. The ???research??? angle lets the vendors escape much of the responsibility for poorly made decisions as they can blame the research.

    Then there is the more devious/pessimistic explanation of this action; Google wants more info and the users be darned.

    I???m just glad that so many now are wakening up and taking notice of what is going on with the large technology corporations of the world and their interactions with governments. Many of the ???conspiracy theory??? labeled ideas/movements are turning out to be more truth then conspiracy and that???s scary.

    Bottom line, no matter if its Google, Microsoft or even Apple, do not trust (automatically) and verify (always). If you assume the worst case scenario until you have reliably verified otherwise then your less likely to get burned by a poor decision made by one of these tech companies with your data.
    BlueCollarCritic
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    I don't think there is good or evil here per say. Just a bunch of companies that have realized that access to your data is worth a lot of money. They are trying to get as much as they can so they can make as big of a profit as they can. We know that most companies will bend rules until some sort of authority spanks them on the hand.
    With all the money flowing through governments by these tech giants, it doesn't seem like something is going to be done about it. Now, once the government officials get hit or they get embarrassed by something, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be consumer protections, the likes that have never been seen.
    rgor@...
  • Did you try a Google+ post before writing this?

    Dana, I was kind of surprised to read this story. This has not been my experience with Google+. So as a test I went to my Google+ account to make a post to see if it did indeed default to sending via email to those not using Google+. It did NOT. The check box was not checked by default. Here is a screen shot of my post. Can you provide a screen shot of a post you did where the check box is checked by default? I'm curious. https://plus.google.com/u/0/111288574156818690676/posts/gw4dM4PA4F7
    DonDodge
  • RE: User meta data wars going way too far, Google

    Dana,

    Re your statement:

    "Google+ seems to now ??? I just noticed it today ??? require me to click a little box NOT to send my Google+ posts to all the contacts in MY Gmail address book that are not already on Google+."

    I must wonder if you have a different, customized version of G+ in your browser. Mine doesn't do that, nor that of like everyone else I know - I'd suggest that you get your facts straight before you claim such things, otherwise my conclusion is simply: haters gona hate ...

    Cheers,
    Michael
    mhausenblas