Google is (not) your friend?

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Google is (not) your friend?

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:38 pm

There's been much talk about Google's new privacy policy. To be honest, I'm totally ignorant to the details of it. In fact, I'm probably crazy naive but for someone who spends as much time online as I do I'm fairly unconcerned about privacy issues. Lots of people go on about "I don't want Google knowing what I search for, and what I watch on youtube, and who I'm emailing etc." But my question is, who's Google? Should I actually be worried that some random Google employee who I don't know and who doesn't know me is personally studying my data out of millions of users and saying, "Damn! This dude's into some weird sh*t!" Or should I be worried that Google is passing my data along to corporations who will do what, send certain ads my way?

So I ask again, am I naive? Ignorant? Is there something I should be worried about? Is there something that you're worried about?
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:54 pm

There's been no change in what Google collects and how they use it for half a decade. The policy is just easier to read, now.
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:24 pm

Still, my questions remain. What is it that people fear when it comes to online privacy, and is that fear justified?
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby Wind Swept » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:35 am

I believe most of the hystia comes from sites like Lifehacker fearmongering to drive new readership, and naive users who just didn't understand that Google uses all that data they give it to tailor their ads.
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby zeroguy » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:37 pm

I don't really think any of the changes make much of a difference; google will always track you in any way they can, so eh, whatever.

However, one of the recommendations I've been seeing lately is to turn off your search history, which I think makes sense. If you go to http://www.google.com/history" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , and see that it is turned on for you (for many people they just checked it, and it was off), it means anyone can see what you've been searching for recently if they use a web browser when you're currently logged into a google product. That's not something I'd be comfortable with.
There's been no change in what Google collects and how they use it for half a decade. The policy is just easier to read, now.
This is not true: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/w ... acy-policy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby elfprince13 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:15 pm

This can help give you an idea of the information Google acquires on you and what they make of it: http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby Syphon the Sun » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:59 pm

This is not true
They've been able to collect and use the information this way since at least 2005.
We may combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services.
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby zeroguy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:34 pm

This is not true
They've been able to collect and use the information this way since at least 2005.
We may combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services.
Expanding that to include context...
When you sign up for a Google Account or other Google service or promotion that requires registration, we ask you for personal information (such as your name, email address and an account password). For certain services, such as our advertising programs, we also request credit card or other payment account information which we maintain in encrypted form on secure servers. We may combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services.
So, at least to me, that specific quote would appear to refer to personal information about yourself; your "profile" or account information or whatever, since it's one bullet point of 7. According to Google itself, it does not include search history or youtube data (of course, youtube wasn't a google product in 2005, but the other versions of the privacy policy have similar text). https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid= ... n_US&pli=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; :
Most of our product-specific privacy policies allowed for sharing of information across products with a
Google Account prior to this change. A few did not. Specifically, our policies meant that we couldn’t
combine data from YouTube and search history with other Google products and services to make them
better. So if a user who likes to cook searches for recipes on Google, we are not able to recommend cooking
videos when that user visits YouTube, even though he is signed in to the same Google Account when using
both. We want to change that so we can create a simpler, more intuitive Google experience – to share more
of each user’s information with that user as they use various Google services.
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:36 am

So, at least to me, that specific quote would appear to refer to personal information about yourself; your "profile" or account information or whatever, since it's one bullet point of 7. According to Google itself, it does not include search history or youtube data (of course, youtube wasn't a google product in 2005, but the other versions of the privacy policy have similar text).
That would make sense, if there was any meaningful legal distinction between the types of information they collect. But there isn't. They'd win that case 10 times out of 10. The new policy will probably avoid unnecessary litigation because it's much clearer, and that makes good business sense. Even if your odds of winning are 1/1, it's better to not have to defend the case at all. But that doesn't mean they didn't have the power to combine that information before.

And, yes, I've read the Public Policy department's response. It seems much more like a marketing response than a legal one. If everyone is up in arms about "changes" to your privacy policy, it makes more sense from a public opinion standpoint to explain why you're doing the thing to which they object, rather than simply say "we've been doing this for years" or "we've had the power to do this for years." It certainly doesn't seem like a legal analysis when you consider the fact that the privacy policies for services like Youtube and Search History have specifically referenced the fact that the main Google Privacy Policy applies to all Google products, including both of them, for years.
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Re: Google is (not) your friend?

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:46 pm

So, at least to me, that specific quote would appear to refer to personal information about yourself; your "profile" or account information or whatever, since it's one bullet point of 7. According to Google itself, it does not include search history or youtube data (of course, youtube wasn't a google product in 2005, but the other versions of the privacy policy have similar text).
That would make sense, if there was any meaningful legal distinction between the types of information they collect. But there isn't. They'd win that case 10 times out of 10. The new policy will probably avoid unnecessary litigation because it's much clearer, and that makes good business sense. Even if your odds of winning are 1/1, it's better to not have to defend the case at all. But that doesn't mean they didn't have the power to combine that information before.

And, yes, I've read the Public Policy department's response. It seems much more like a marketing response than a legal one. If everyone is up in arms about "changes" to your privacy policy, it makes more sense from a public opinion standpoint to explain why you're doing the thing to which they object, rather than simply say "we've been doing this for years" or "we've had the power to do this for years." It certainly doesn't seem like a legal analysis when you consider the fact that the privacy policies for services like Youtube and Search History have specifically referenced the fact that the main Google Privacy Policy applies to all Google products, including both of them, for years.
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