Jan 25, 2012

What is the big deal about Google's new privacy policy?

I haven't had an opportunity yet to read all of the changes to Google's privacy policy, but from what I understand it says that information from one part of Google can be shared with other parts of Google. It is still under the same roof, so to speak. What does it really matter whether Google part A shares your data with Google part B? A big part of what I liked about Android the first time I used an Android phone my G-Mail and Google Voice contacts were easily and simply pushed onto the device. Am I missing something about this that is causing all the concern?



I am not one to often quote Forbes, but I agree with Kashmir Hill who pointed out that the new Google policy isn't much different from the old Google policy, and the "internet freak-out", as she put it, was not warranted.  Under the old policy, you already had ceded that Google could share your info between its various services.  And let's face it, if you are an Android user (nice avatar, wstark) you see the benefits of a unified system with the various services pretty smoothly integrated in the end user experience.


On the other hand, I don't fool myself and think that Google is doing this because it loves me.  The privacy change is a sign that advertisers love me.  And you, and you, and you.  This is going to allow Google to target advertising like never before.  This is the part I have a problem with.  Is the topic of an email going to affect the ads I see when I perform a Google search?  Hmmm, maybe.  Is that good?  Hmmm, maybe not.  To a point though, I accept this as a price I have to pay for the pretty amazing range of things Google offers at no cost to me.  And that "to me" ending is the critical point, because it does cost money to allow me unlimited free telephone calls using Google Voice, for example.


You are already being hit by targeted advertising.  One thing you might like is to see who Google thinks you are now, insofar as your interests, age and gender are concerned.  It nailed me, incidentally.  Check for yourself.   http://www.google.com/ads/preferences 


I agree that it would seem to be a logical thing for Google to do. I'm not sure why people who have an issue with it would use Google's services anyway. There are other search engines, email services, etc. If somebody is offended by their policies then they can close their accounts, delete them and move on to another service.

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