Google Decides to Kill Privacy

Google's new privacy policy allows the company to peek through bedroom windows.

Remember when Google adopted “Don’t Be Evil” as its unofficial motto?  You’ll find that little ditty at a yard sale next to a Bay City Rollers album and a skinny leather tie decorated like a piano.

Because this week Google announced it was drastically changing its privacy policy and the side of sharing – and the side of profitability.  The Google white hats have been replaced by black ones.

Google made the announcement on its blog under the rather understated headline: “Updating Our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.”  The accompanying video also officially places Google into the “creepy” company category.

Basically as of March 1 Google is going to track users everywhere as it consolidates all of its services: Gmail, Google+, Android phones, search, etc. into one user profile.  As Gizmodo notes:

“If you are signed into your Google Account to use any service at all, the company can use that information on other services as well… What this means for you is that data from the things you search for, the emails you send, the places you look up on Google Maps, the videos you watch in YouTube, the discussions you have on Google+ will all be collected in one place.”

And, of course, it will be saved and stored forever.  The data will be added to your personal algorithm to provide you with personalized search results and customized advertising.  Google says that it will even be able to remind you if you’re late for an appointment based on your current location, your calendar entry, and current traffic conditions.

Google, however, mentioned nothing about offering you a ride to said meeting.

While this type of invasion of privacy isn’t new, Facebook and other companies already do much of this, the difference is that Google once promised not to do things like this.  Google has become a successful billion dollar company because people trust them.  That may not be the case anymore.

The Washington Post yesterday conducted an informal poll on Google’s privacy changes.  More than 13,000 people participated and 66 percent vowed they would be closing their accounts with the company.  It remains to be seen if people actually have the energy to close out all of these services.

What about you?  Are you concerned about privacy?  Will you be closing your Google accounts?


Google blog post on privacy policy change

Gizmodo post “Google’s Broken Promise”

Washington Post “How to Close Your Google Account”

The Reality of Online Privacy: You Have None

Google CEO Thinks Privacy is Evil

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