Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Google's new privacy changes and tracking are a good thing

Google has announced a new simple and connected privacy policy. We already have large sites like the Washington Post writing on this and wheeling out concerned experts. Had Apple not announced amazing financial details at the exact same time Google just happened to publish this news then it would surely have been a bigger story.

Gosh. Fancy that.

Putting my cynicism aside; I actually support the changes.



I buy the story. That helps. There are too many Google privacy variants and I welcome a single and easier to understand one.

Do I worry about Google’s cross site tracking? No. I welcome it. I do believe it’ll improve the service.

I’m pretty sure it’s the cross site tracking that Google is really after here. The improvements to privacy transparency is a sugar coating for both internal Google consumption as well as external.

I accept there are some risks in putting more eggs in a single basket but this feels more secure than the sort of behind the scenes deals Facebook signs with the like of Yelp for instant personalisation.

I look forward to some of the products that Google could make with the result of this tweak. The video above teases us over the possibility of adding geo-data to Calendar alerts. There are a lot more. For example, what about Google News giving me prompts or alerts for areas I’m due to travel into – if Google knows I’m flying from Heathrow on Friday then I’ve no problem with Google Alerts for potential travel tips for Friday. Alternatively, if Google knows I like to try and catch viral videos on YouTube before they go viral then I have no problem with their creators being recommended as Google+ connections or surfaced in search.

Users can't opt out? Of course not. How could it work if users could pick and choose the T&Cs of sites they use? I don't see a two tier privacy system being a good thing - one, simple, set of privacy rules for most people and yet Google serving up complex and separate rules for each of their sites for a small percentage of users? The opt out is a red herring.

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