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January 24, 2012 2:21 PM   Subscribe


 
Pitchforks! Get'cher pitchforks here!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 2:23 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


You have to say this: when Google decides to go evil they don't mess around.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


This really makes we want to root my Android phone.
posted by jiawen at 2:26 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


On this topic, is there any resource online that has instructions for closing your accounts at google/facebook/twitter/other/etc?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm a lot less happy about using my Android phone now.
posted by a small part of the world at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Don't be evil, unless we miss earnings.

Makes me want to donate to GNU.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


You could log out and kill your cookies.

Why would this move affect your opinion of Android?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2012


lotta activity at the goog.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2012


"We built Chrome not only to be faster, but also to put you in control of your private information while helping protect the information you share when you're online."
posted by mrgrimm at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait..... Google is using the things I do to target ads towards things I'm actually interested in???!!! PURE EVIL!!!!!
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


Makes me want to donate to GNU.

Do it! Feels better every time.

Why would this move affect your opinion of Android?

It doesn't change my opinion of Android; it changes my opinion of Google, and Google is all over my Android phone.
posted by a small part of the world at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


“In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,” she said.

"Googsperience."
posted by griphus at 2:31 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Either the company is meddling with search results (as all evidence suggests) or it is still committed to all the ideals it espoused when the company was going public.

LOLZ.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:31 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Makes me want to donate to GNU.

They are running a pledge drive right now. I became a member a few weeks ago as an xmas present to me and the kids (well, kind of). That said, the EFF might be more appropriate. (Do both.)
posted by DU at 2:31 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is just not wanting to believe that the company I just started working for is actually turning evil before my eyes, but I'm really not seeing what makes this privacy policy bad. It just looks to me like the same stuff they've always done, only there is now one privacy policy across the whole company instead of lots of specific ones for specific web sites. What exactly is it that's gotten people upset about this?
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:31 PM on January 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


Then again, a lot of what we’re hearing is from X-Googlers.

LOLZ, Pt. II.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:32 PM on January 24, 2012


What exactly is it that's gotten people upset about this?

I, too, would like a cogent explanation of why this policy makes anyone so mad.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]




So... if they have a bunch of data on you stored in multiple databases it is now stored in a single database, and they can, what, evilly cross reference?
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


Can anyone explain whether disconnect.me rescues me from any or all of this? I would prefer not to have to go back to Gopher. I don't think there are a lot of servers left.
posted by The Bellman at 2:34 PM on January 24, 2012


It's a shame that rooting an android phone means following a twisty maze of cargo cult instructions which ultimately culminates in installing binaries from a forum or wiki.

If you'd told me 10 years ago that most of my geek friends wouldn't mind carrying a sensor-laden linux server in their pocket that they couldn't have root on, I would not have believed it.
posted by finite at 2:34 PM on January 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


Honestly, I thought they already did this. I mean, you have to assume that anything you tell to them goes into the soup.
posted by bonehead at 2:35 PM on January 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


Jan 16, 2013 -- Android phones no longer compatable with Facebook
posted by Avenger at 2:35 PM on January 24, 2012


Anyway, screw this, everyone company seems to have it in for me. I'm starting my own internet. Let me know if you want in. So far we've got an FTP with the Anarchist's Cookbook in individual TXT files, a listserv for sysadmin jokes, and two newsgroups about Blake's 7 (rec.tv.blakes7 and rec.tv.blakes7.slashfic). I'm having a guy come in on Tuesday and make a Geocities-style webpage that's just links to a bunch of 64kbps MP3s of mid-to-late-90s alternative rock and the TimeCube guy donated what seems to be a large cardboard box of hand-written scrawlings.
posted by griphus at 2:35 PM on January 24, 2012 [81 favorites]


It just looks to me like the same stuff they've always done, only there is now one privacy policy across the whole company instead of lots of specific ones for specific web sites.

"It can't be evil, it's been going on so long and it's pervasive"?
posted by DU at 2:35 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I check the disconnect.me "depersonalize searches" option, Google tells me I have a "cookie problem". Then, even after I uncheck that box, they won't let me search or do anything with them (including looking at open source projects hosted on Google Code) until I clear my cookies.
posted by finite at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2012


Throw in an oil-rog based "data haven" with plans for a space launch facility and i'm in!
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2012


Here's the post on the Google Blog. I've found that it's usually helpful to read the Google Blog announcement of changes before going to the media coverage. They're pretty good about making their case, explaining why they made the decision, and pre-emptively addressing likely criticisms.
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 2:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


If you use a browser that supports blockers such as adblock plus and/or ghostery, can you count on them blocking trackers as well as ads?
posted by Lynsey at 2:37 PM on January 24, 2012


Kinda seems like a no brainer to me. If it was yahoo and I said t you "they have no way to share user information across their multiple product lines" you would say "What a bunch of morons, no wonder they lost"
posted by Ad hominem at 2:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


"What exactly is it that's gotten people upset about this?"

Garden variety hysteria. Targeted ads are somehow an invasion of privacy, and turning your secrets over to the Man.

This particular boogeyman seems to not know that this sort of thing has been around over a decade and the new policy changes literally nothing, other than the text of the policy.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:39 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've a tiny suspicion that at least part of it is folks who are overly invested in Apple casting around for someone to the "New Microsoft" so it isn't them.
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on January 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


This really makes we want to root my Android phone.

Do it.

I rooted mine a few months ago after some strange fluke wiped the memory including all my apps and data.

It's the best thing I've done with the phone. It's an older Motorola Cliq, maybe 2nd generation android phone, and it was so sluggish running the stock firmware.

Cyanogenmod has given the device an entirely new lease on life. It's running 2.3 faster than the official 2.1 and without the crappy Motoblur.
posted by formless at 2:41 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


"It can't be evil, it's been going on so long and it's pervasive"?

Ok but what is "it" exactly? What is bad about the new privacy policy? I'm seeing a whole lot of freaking out over this and so far nobody has had any specific complaints about anything being changed. I'm willing to believe that there is *something* evil in there but so far nobody is telling me what it is, and I didn't see anything out of the ordinary when I read through the text myself.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I, too, would like a cogent explanation of why this policy makes anyone so mad.

For me, it's providing the cross-referenced information about the content of your emails, calendar entries and contacts to advertisers. The example in the article is that I make an appointment for a meeting in Washington DC and suddenly every advertiser, across all the services I use and every web page I go to, knows that I will be in DC on a certain date and begins serving me ad content related to my trip. The advertisers also know that all the invitees will be in DC on that date, so I have just fucked them, too and they didn't even get kissed first.

I don't want that. I don't want to be forced to have that just because I use an Android phone which, according to the article, will happen. Exchange may be evil, and it may live on an evil box running an evil OS, but at least its evil is contained to my own environment.
posted by The Bellman at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Targeted ads are somehow an invasion of privacy, and turning your secrets over to the Man.

2012: "You've recently purchased Communist Manifesto, so you may also enjoy these other books."
2015: "You purchased Communist Manifesto in 2012. Prepare to be re-educated."
posted by DU at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2012 [22 favorites]


In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products

EVIL
posted by mrgrimm at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


One way or another, any company that makes its fortune as an indispensable internet utility is going to behave in this fashion, there's not any way around it. For each voice of dissent, a thousand others will gladly surrender their personal information for the convenience provided.

That being said, if you are up in arms about this, the EFF and ACLU could always use the support because even if targeted ads aren't doing it for you, the ever present onward march toward technological nirvana is sure to rub up against something you hold dear in the not too distant future.
posted by I've wasted my life at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


"For me, it's providing the cross-referenced information about the content of your emails, calendar entries and contacts to advertisers."

Except they don't do that, do they.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


For me, personally, it's "users can't opt out"--it's the same problem I had often with MS Office products. No, thank you, I don't want you to format my paragraphs for me; I want to make my own decisions. No, thank you, Google, I want "opt-in" not "opt-out". I don't want one log-in across all services. Fuck, I don't even want a log-in at all for most places I go on the internet. Take, for example. youtube. I don't post anything at youtube; I don't *save* anything posted at youtube; I don't socialize at youtube; I rarely share anything I find at youtube and usually ignore IMs or emails or Metafilters with a youtube link. Therefore, I don't want or need a youtube history or user name. Therefore, when a service that provides me an email address now requires me to use that as a login/tracking service at youtube, I think it's unfriendly at the least and probably nefarious.

maybe it's irrational. I don't know. But I'm staring to consider *real* ways to migrate all my email out of google for once and for all.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [26 favorites]


For me, it's providing the cross-referenced information about the content of your emails, calendar entries and contacts to advertisers. The example in the article is that I make an appointment for a meeting in Washington DC and suddenly every advertiser, across all the services I use and every web page I go to, knows that I will be in DC on a certain date and begins serving me ad content related to my trip. The advertisers also know that all the invitees will be in DC on that date, so I have just fucked them, too and they didn't even get kissed first.

No they don't. That isn't how it works at all (even for the more evil Facebook). It never will be for this reason: that fact is valuable data, and is Google's secret sauce. They will anonymise you to part of a group, and not share your actual ID at all.
posted by jaduncan at 2:49 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Call me crazy, but I welcome our new cross-platform overlords. Why wouldn't I want to have this functionality that makes everything more seamless? I mean, it's not like they're selling the content of my emails to advertisers.
posted by lunasol at 2:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you’re signed in, we may combine information .....

Isn't that how one opts out?
posted by benito.strauss at 2:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


IMO it's pretty cool that the price I have to pay for being able to look at a high resolution satellite photograph of literally any place on earth or photos from a car that has driven down every street in America is that they try to sell me a bike helmet because I sent an email about bikes
posted by theodolite at 2:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


The example in the article is that I make an appointment for a meeting in Washington DC and suddenly every advertiser, across all the services I use and every web page I go to, knows that I will be in DC on a certain date and begins serving me ad content related to my trip.

My understanding is that the advertisers don't know that at all. Google would know about your meeting in Washington, since you entered it into their service, and they will show you relevant advertising, but the advertisers don't know who their ads are shown to, outside of aggregated demographic information. In their announcement they say "We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally".
posted by markr at 2:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]



IMO it's pretty cool that the price I have to pay for being able to look at a high resolution satellite photograph of literally any place on earth or photos from a car that has driven down every street in America is that they try to sell me a bike helmet because I sent an email about bikes


First they came for the bikers, and I said nothing...
posted by chavenet at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


From their FAQ it seems that Google Dashboard is sticking around, so users should still be able to opt out of specific things, like disabling web history.

This headline is the worst kind of linkbait. The word "opt" does not even appear in the article.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:52 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


griphus: "Anyway, screw this, everyone company seems to have it in for me. I'm starting my own internet. Let me know if you want in. So far we've got an FTP with the Anarchist's Cookbook in individual TXT files, a listserv for sysadmin jokes, and two newsgroups about Blake's 7 (rec.tv.blakes7 and rec.tv.blakes7.slashfic). I'm having a guy come in on Tuesday and make a Geocities-style webpage that's just links to a bunch of 64kbps MP3s of mid-to-late-90s alternative rock and the TimeCube guy donated what seems to be a large cardboard box of hand-written scrawlings."

You could call it... spies.com! Wiretap.spies, even!
posted by symbioid at 2:52 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have an Android phone and you know how comprehensive the user experience is between all the Google products, this has got to give you some pause.

I'm glad I've only barely been using Google+ and I'm still not on Facebook, in any real sort of way.

I've stopped using Google search and am quite pleased with ixquick at this point in time. It's solid (the results are as good as Google), fast and secure.
posted by Skygazer at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2012


For me, it's providing the cross-referenced information about the content of your emails, calendar entries and contacts to advertisers.

Minor point, but were not these products all already combined under Google Search (along with Mail, Docs, Video, News, etc? ...


I don't want one log-in across all services.

Again, really weird when you compare it to Yahoo (or Netflix - remember how mad people got when they thought they'd have to manage two accounts for streaming and DVD?)

I can certainly understand not wanting to create a Microsoft Live profile, or whatever it's called, to save Bing Travel results, but it's all the same service.

The difficulty of managing the T&Cs of all those various sites is reason enough to unify. I want my Googlers developing new products and improving existing products, not drafting and editing legal documents.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2012


For me, personally, it's "users can't opt out"

I'm not aware that one can use the service of any provider---MS, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook---and opt-out of their terms of service.

One can pick services with looser policies, but none of them let the public use their services without a EULA or an actual contract. As far as I can tell, at this point Google is not particularly worse than any, and better than quite a few.
posted by bonehead at 2:54 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Honestly - I'm waiting for an alternative to gmail. that's the last holdout ... I've heard good things about duckduckgo (mainly on the blue), and gmail is the last thing I've gotta deal with. I don't wanna have to host my own, but maybe it will come down to that.
posted by symbioid at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


An annoying aspect of Google advertising comes about after I spend some time on a 3d party website, and perhaps make a purchase there, say of software. I will then get google ads for... the thing I just purchased, from the company I just purchased it from and obviously don't need another one of. It doesn't serve the 3d party either.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:56 PM on January 24, 2012


Maybe this means that Google will finally start showing me ads for things that I'm interested in. Right now they still think I want to attend helicopter paramedic school. Or bake Spam hashbrowns.
posted by The White Hat at 2:57 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I'm staring to consider *real* ways to migrate all my email out of google for once and for all.

Enable IMAP
http://support.google.com/mail/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=ts.cs&ts=1668960&rd=1

Use Cyrus

Then xfer:
run perl program http://imapsync.lamiral.info/ (they now seem to want $$)

There ya go - moved email. Onto your own system - no share-cropping.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:58 PM on January 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


An annoying aspect of Google advertising comes about after I spend some time on a 3d party website, and perhaps make a purchase there, say of software. I will then get google ads for... the thing I just purchased, from the company I just purchased it from and obviously don't need another one of. It doesn't serve the 3d party either.

AdBlock deals with this.
posted by jaduncan at 3:01 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I will then get google ads for... the thing I just purchased, from the company I just purchased it from and obviously don't need another one of.

This happens all the time with Amazon recommendations. How many lawnmowers does it think I need?
posted by Foosnark at 3:01 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


How many lawnmowers does it think I need?

20. Same as in town.

Wait... that joke doesn't make sense!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:03 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The thing that drives me nuts about Amazon is that they send me targeted ads for stuff they won't ship outside of the US. They know were I live, they know they can't send me that stuff, so stop showing me ads for it dammit.
posted by markr at 3:04 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


"We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day."

...but you will apparently never learn that I don't drive a car, so those reminders will always come too late to do any good. This is why the whole tone of the announcement bothers me. They tout all this great personalization, but I fear in practice it's going to be useless and break things that were working fine before.
posted by hilker at 3:05 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


“In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,” she said.

I was under the impression and expectation that google was doing this all along and have always assumed this when using the google family of products.
posted by birdherder at 3:08 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google can do when we combine information across products. Our search box now gives you great answers not just from the web, but your personal stuff too.

I think this post should have ended with "P.S. New Gmail and Reader are great, too."
posted by ignignokt at 3:11 PM on January 24, 2012


I've a tiny suspicion that at least part of it is folks who are overly invested in Apple casting around for someone to the "New Microsoft" so it isn't them.

...
posted by entropicamericana at 3:12 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


People seem a bit on edge lately. I fail to see how Google are acting substantively differently from any other online services provider.
posted by schmod at 3:13 PM on January 24, 2012


People seem a bit on edge lately.

A lot of this anti-Google stuff is coming from the old media, right?
posted by jaduncan at 3:14 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of this anti-Google stuff is coming from the old media, right?

And Apple partisans. (daring fireball, especially)
posted by empath at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is the "sky is falling" thread, right?

You use the same google address to sign into ten different google services and you expected something different than this?

Honestly, I like the convenience of Google, I really do not believe that, by culling all this information, Google is going to use it to inject anthrax into my favorite bottle of Chianti..

chill people...
posted by HuronBob at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the article:

For instance, a user who has watched YouTube videos of the Washington Wizards might suddenly see basketball ticket ads appear in his or her Gmail accounts.

Seriously? I don't want ads based on browsing to be e-mailed to me, and I don't want ads on my Gmail page... there aren't any there now. Or is the article just wrong about this?
posted by Huck500 at 3:18 PM on January 24, 2012


And, let me say, I can not honestly remember seeing Google Ads, either I've done something to disable them and forgotten I've done so, or I've just blocked them out of my vision/mind/thoughts if they do appear...
posted by HuronBob at 3:18 PM on January 24, 2012


Uh, I thought they were already doing this?
posted by wierdo at 3:19 PM on January 24, 2012


Internet commenters are "old media?"
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:19 PM on January 24, 2012


For instance, a user who has watched YouTube videos of the Washington Wizards might suddenly see basketball ticket ads appear in his or her Gmail accounts.

Seriously? I don't want ads based on browsing to be e-mailed to me, and I don't want ads on my Gmail page... there aren't any there now. Or is the article just wrong about this?


They won't email ads to you. They'll be at the top of your inbox, above your emails.
posted by ignignokt at 3:21 PM on January 24, 2012


Seriously? I don't want ads based on browsing to be e-mailed to me, and I don't want ads on my Gmail page... there aren't any there now. Or is the article just wrong about this?

There are ads, but they're fairly unobtrusive (much less obtrusive than they were when Gmail started).

Some clever adjusting of your cookies should stop the crossover from YouTube, assuming you don't have the need to log into YouTube.
posted by hoyland at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2012


Also, yeah, I thought they were already doing the "cross-platform" thing. Especially with Gchat.

A long time ago, I used Gchat to talk to somebody at a software vendor about one of our servers.
To this day, I see Google ads for their competitor. I have never, ever, done any google searches for anything about it, nor have I ever said the name of the vendor in an email or anything.
I figured that it is just a fluke, and they somehow have figured out that I am in the internet security business.

But then I made a very offhand reference to somebody in Gchat about the store Jos. A Bank as a joke. Again, I've never searched or had anything to do with that place. From that one mention, I still see their ads to this day. Not just in Gmail, but everywhere.

Creepy! I've moved that account to be my spam-target and have all "real" emails on something that doesn't make money off of reading my chats and email.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


rough ashlar wrote: run perl program http://imapsync.lamiral.info/ (they now seem to want $$)

Man, I gave that guy a book some years ago after his software improved my life immensely in an email migration.
posted by wierdo at 3:26 PM on January 24, 2012


Does this mean that if I'm logged into my Google Account, but NOT logged into MetaFilter, and I click around "whale and dolphin play," "rapid fire archery," and "siapo animation" posts, that I can expect ads relevant to these activities in my Gmail?

Or does it mean that Google will recognize my IP or whatever cookies I have saved in my browser, such that even if I'm not logged in (or if I'm logged into MetaFilter), they'll track my activity?
posted by CancerMan at 3:27 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


They won't email ads to you. They'll be at the top of your inbox, above your emails.

There are ads, but they're fairly unobtrusive (much less obtrusive than they were when Gmail started).

There are absolutely no ads on my gmail page, I'm looking at it now.
posted by Huck500 at 3:28 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you put enough circles on a Venn diagram, you can isolate a set down to one element.

Remember, they only know what you tell them.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:30 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or does it mean that Google will recognize my IP or whatever cookies I have saved in my browser, such that even if I'm not logged in (or if I'm logged into MetaFilter), they'll track my activity?

Presumably, they could. Tons and tons and tons of sites use Google Analyitics (because it is pretty good, and free!), so even if you didn't Google Search for "dolphin play," google still knows "you" visited a site about it.

There are absolutely no ads on my gmail page, I'm looking at it now.

I have them on mine. (Very targeted too, I use Seamlessweb all the time.)
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:32 PM on January 24, 2012


You're sure? No blue bar above your list of e-mails telling you about credit cards or spam recipes? Because if so I want to know what ad-blocker you use.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:32 PM on January 24, 2012


I think Google calls it "Entwined Vertical Information Logging"

Nothing to worry about.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:32 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Google don't share your info with 3rd parties. I. E the advertisers on the service.

What they do do is scan your data and use that to put you in a class, or type of user. You'll probably end up in several classes.

Advertisers then pay to advertise to that class of user. So if Google sees calendar entries to Washington, they don't tell advertisers that you're going there and when; but you may see text adverts that are localised to Washington and not say, london. You have a certain amount of control; you can go into the dashboard and turn some or all adverts types off, so you'll just get the cheaper generic ones instead.

The main change is that instead of treating your Google account on each service as entirety separate for each service for advertising purposes, they may classify you upon activity in one service, and use that class in another, instead of keeping them entirely separate across each site. Plus condensing the 70 privacy policies and terms into a much smaller set.

You can easily export all your gmail using any imap client (outlook, thunderbird, imail etc) and put it in any other advertising based free service you desire.
You can export every bit of actual data you've ever put into google, including all your contacts. Try doing that with Facebook.

If you have an android phone, you only need a google account to use with the market for receiving free system app updates, or if you wish to buy apps from the Google market rather than a bunch of others. Just go into account sync, and turn off calendar, contact and gmail sync, and you need give them nothing; store them all on the phone itself, sync with another 3rd party - go nuts.

You don't have to login to use search, or YouTube. You need an account to use gmail, docs and google+, obviously, but you can have entirely separate ones. Hell, setup a domain with Google apps, and create a new user account every week.

Compared to Facebook's hide the privacy options shenanigans, and Apple's totally vertical integration, I'm really not seeing the scandal.

Google is going to share data between Google services If you log into multiple with one account, and unify the terms. Big whoop.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:35 PM on January 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Holy Zarquon: I have no ads. Adblock+, firefox.
posted by kenko at 3:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I recently installed a freebie called Do Not Track plus...in about a month, it noted 26,000 tracking cookies that they blocked. A button tells you what takes place at each site. For example: at this Blue, No social buttons; no ad networks, but 2 companies, at Meatfiltler, blocked...but this
blocker is for Firefox.

I have a friend who got into the tracking biz a few years ago ...now owns 3 homes, and offices in 5 cities.
posted by Postroad at 3:39 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ads on the internet? Are you people running around without adBlock, like savages?
posted by mullingitover at 3:39 PM on January 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


> Wait... that joke doesn't make sense!

You kids! Get off my lawnmowers!
posted by mmrtnt at 3:45 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I make an appointment for a meeting in Washington DC and suddenly every advertiser, across all the services I use and every web page I go to, knows that I will be in DC on a certain date and begins serving me ad content related to my trip.

This is just not true. You don't seem very knowledgeable about the free products you use...
posted by smoke at 3:47 PM on January 24, 2012


I'm not concerned with having appropriate ads served to me.

I'm concerned that a company has a very exhaustive portfolio on me that extends to email, chat, search, phone, and financial and business transactions(I am an analytics, Adsense and Google Checkout user too).

Sure, I believe that they won't share it willy nilly to advertisers, but the fact that this portfolio of information exists is terrifying.

Here is Google's statement as to what conditions they WILL share personal information under.

We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google if we have a good-faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to:

- meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.
- enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations.
- detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.
- protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, our users or the public as required or permitted by law.


So - to law enforcement, to sue you, and to "investigate" TOS violations.
posted by sawdustbear at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


You can do something like use Google Chrome for public browsing and Firefox for anonymous.

Or, Firefox has a startup option labeled -P for "ProfileManager" You can use that to make a new profile and then launch firefox from a shortcut or link like:

firefox -P some_user
firefox -P some_other_user

These users will have completely different sets of themes, add-ons, histories, passwords, preferences, etc.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've essentially been using Gmail as a spam dump for years now. I don't Facebook. I have tons of blocking software on Firefox, don't use Chrome. This isn't going to really matter to me. Except that now, I'll be moving a few important things from Gmail to my main email address.

It's all about my YouTube stats I guess.
posted by Splunge at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2012


I should probably clarify that I actually think those specific terms for data sharing were already in there, as they were standard in most privacy policies, but I actually can't think of any other single website or advertising network that has had access to this breadth of information.

I may be naive, but I'd somehow always thought that the advertising arm of Google was generally run separately(i.e. with its own behavioral tracking cookies, but not linked to a specific Google profile, necessarily).

On a business level, if I were an advertiser, I'd certainly be looking to do more business with Google-Doubleclick, because it's looking like they'll be having a better profile of consumer data than pretty much any other ad network on the internet.
posted by sawdustbear at 3:55 PM on January 24, 2012


Sure, I believe that they won't share it willy nilly to advertisers, but the fact that this portfolio of information exists is terrifying.

Why would you share terrifying information under your real name/details?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:56 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why would you share terrifying information under your real name/details?

Why are you so scared if you have nothing to hide, in other words?

It is not the information that is terrifying, but it can be terrifying that a company which has me as its product, knows more about me than my own mother.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:03 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


And that's the price you pay for nice web apps, constantly improved and with great uptime for free.
It's not there's not a billion other hosts that are ad free but charged for for email, contacts, calendars and documents. You can have your own domain for not much extra. Not as much competition for search, but there is bing, or duckduckgo. Or just don't log in to Google when searching.

In the end of the day, you can pay with cash, or pay with fairly non intrusive text ads compared to 90% of the rest of the internet. Even our beloved metafilter is mostly paid for by advertisers.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:16 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, at this point google could put a camera in most people's bedrooms and as long as gmail is free they'd find a reason it was okay.

"Why do I care if google knows I wear boxers instead of briefs?"

The more google does, the more they have proof people simply don't care, and if earnings aren't up to par, the less they're attached to 'don't be evil'.

And Apple partisans. (daring fireball, especially)
posted by empath


Haha. You've traced the anti-google trend to apple fans? Does it make it easier to be a google apologist with someone to blame?
posted by justgary at 4:18 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I may be misinterpreting this, and if so, please enlighten me. But when G+ launched, there was a big hullabaloo about making people use their "real names". I don't. I mean, I use my first name, but not my last. Google has it, because I have an android, and because I have a analytics account and a checkout account, but I don't use it in my profile.

Google's policy on "real name" is problematic, in that I know I could lose my google+ if anyone reports my account for not using my last name. Which, ya know, would suck, cause I like g+, but it wouldn't impact my gmail or any of the other tools I've come to use regularly.

But now, if I'm reading the press release correctly, if the secret Google Court of Identity decides that my G+ account should be shut down, that means that I lose gmail, and my Android phone becomes a locked brick unless I jail break it. Because I was foolish enough to forward my domain emails to my gmails, I could lose all my contact data, and years of record keeping which I've categorized in folders of gmail.

Granted, it's my own fault for using gmail in the first place as a business tool, or for keeping records on their servers instead of reams of paper printouts, but basically, this announcement scares me, because of the nicknames/real names thing. Any company that insists I have to be public with my real name, search data, my map requests, my physical location as tracked by my phone, the videos I see, the books I read, the email I get...and I have no way to opting out of which information is shared and stored...well...I find that problematic.

Why is that not alarming? What data am I missing?
posted by dejah420 at 4:18 PM on January 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Interesting to read this news on the same day as this:

Europe Weighs a Tough Law on Online Privacy and User Data

Europe is considering a sweeping new law that would force Internet companies like Amazon.com and Facebook to obtain explicit consent from consumers about the use of their personal data, delete that data forever at the consumer’s request and face fines for failing to comply....

The regulation would compel Web sites to tell consumers why their data is being collected and retain it for only as long as necessary. If data is stolen, sites would have to notify regulators within 24 hours. It also offers consumers the right to transport their data from one service to another — to deactivate a Facebook account, for example, and take one’s trove of pictures and posts and contacts to Google Plus.

The proposed law strikes at the heart of some of the knottiest questions governing digital life and commerce: who owns personal data, what happens to it once it is posted online, and what the proper balance is between guarding privacy and leveraging that data to aim commercial or political advertising at ordinary people.

“Individuals are getting more rights. The balance is tilting more to the individual versus the companies,” said Françoise Gilbert, a lawyer in Palo Alto, Calif., who represents technology companies doing business in Europe. “There is very little that’s good for the companies other than a reduction of administrative headaches.”

Perhaps for historical or cultural reasons, Europeans tend to be more invested in issues of data privacy than Americans. Certainly, the proposed regulation is evidence that European politicians consider it to be a more urgent legislative issue than members of the United States Congress. Privacy bills have languished on Capitol Hill. Those that have been proposed, by Senator John Kerry and others, have none of the strict protections included in the draft European regulations.


Concerns about privacy don't seem to be "garden variety hysteria" across the pond.
posted by mediareport at 4:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


but it can be terrifying that a company which has me as its product, knows more about me than my own mother.

This isn't new, though. They've always had that info, and they've always (to a greater or lesser extent) used it. If you don't like it, stop using the service.

ArkhanJG is correct: this is the "price" you pay for using Google's services. But they're not the only game in town. The biggest and the best (free, uptime, etc.), but not the only one.
posted by anastasiav at 4:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what child molesters do. They start off by giving you candy. Can we get Google registered as a sex offender?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:19 PM on January 24, 2012


I don't care so much about the single privacy policy (big whoop) or a certain amount of sharing given that I'm logged in (expected). Having said that, after some of the Google privacy debacles where they arbitrarily think certain information should be exposed to use their products, I'm not confident that Google won't expose information that I allowed them to have (e.g., received in a gmail account) under one privacy policy and expose it under a new policy now. This is the same beef I have with Facebook deciding information that used to be private should be public.

I don't think Google is exposing more of my information publicly as a result of this particular decision, but this announcement is one more thing like the "you can't use pseuds on G+" decision that's eroding my trust in Google, such as that trust is. Now all my information is connected and what I may not care that Google knows in bits and pieces is in one place, and that's unnerving.
posted by immlass at 4:21 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


So is there actually anything in the new privacy policy that is scary? Or is it just a case of hyperventilators are gonna hyperventilate?
posted by aspo at 4:25 PM on January 24, 2012


And Apple partisans.

Fuck, this telephone turf war is just so fucking tiring. Why does everything not having to do with telephones get traced back to them?

It is almost comical, if it weren't so annoying.

A while ago, I was reading The Verge (which is supposed to be some sort of Golden Age of Smart Tech Blogging baby Jesus), and they said this. about Google buying a pile of patents from IBM:

including some patents on data caching, blade servers, and server load balancing. These things could have to do with Android's back end, for sure

Google, you know, the company that has data centers all over the place. The one that chaches data on "blade servers" and has massive load balancing.

It is like telephones have made everybody lose approx. 300 IQ points. Just stop.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:27 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why are you so scared if you have nothing to hide, in other words?

Yep, pretty much.

And you know what - I do have things to hide. They aren't illegal things. But there are things, certainly.

That, in essence is what the privacy debate is about. It's not that users - you know, people - need to be educated enough so that they spend most of their time trying to figure out how to best anonymize every single action they take on the internet. There is some onus on the corporation to give reasonable notice(I guess we're talking about this, so they're doing this well) and choice(modifying ad preferences is not a substantial choice, in my opinion). They've always had this information, and they've always used it, but combining information actually is a different ballgame. Before this change, I've generally understood Google's profile information(information gleaned from a logged in user) to be kept separately from Google's behavioral tracking information(gleaned via ad network tracking cookies and website analytics).
posted by sawdustbear at 4:30 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're sure? No blue bar above your list of e-mails telling you about credit cards or spam recipes? Because if so I want to know what ad-blocker you use.

None here at home, none at work. I use Chrome on OS X, and AdBlock. Just checked the same setup in Win 7, no ads.
posted by Huck500 at 4:35 PM on January 24, 2012


Wait, they weren't combining my YouTube browsing habits and search habits already? I am both shocked about that fact and slightly curious about how they knew to suggest these videos...
posted by introp at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2012


Mister Fabulous: "How many lawnmowers does it think I need?

20. Same as in town.

Wait... that joke doesn't make sense!
"

Oh yes it does. Yes. It. Does.
posted by symbioid at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google's policy on "real name" is problematic, in that I know I could lose my google+ if anyone reports my account for not using my last name. Which, ya know, would suck, cause I like g+, but it wouldn't impact my gmail or any of the other tools I've come to use regularly.

But now, if I'm reading the press release correctly, if the secret Google Court of Identity decides that my G+ account should be shut down, that means that I lose gmail, and my Android phone becomes a locked brick unless I jail break it.


As I understand it, violating the google+ real names policy means they can kick you off google+ until you change it; where people have lost gmail access also, it's because they've been in violation of one of the other terms for those other services also, i.e. under 13. Normally, the rest of your google account carries on working, and nothing in this new setup should change that. Theoretically, they're going to allow pseudonames soon anyway, so it becomes a somewhat moot point.

Because I was foolish enough to forward my domain emails to my gmails, I could lose all my contact data, and years of record keeping which I've categorized in folders of gmail.

It's not a one-way thing. You can back-up all your data pretty easily directly onto your own pc, which is never a bad idea. If it's not backed up, it's not your data anyway - it's a collection of random stuff that hasn't decided to go AWOL yet. [/IT guy]

Google dashboard gives you a good overview of all your settings.

The data liberation site has instructions on how to get your data out of any part of google. More specifically, google takeout lets you backup a whole bunch of stuff in one go; most of the important stuff bar gmail is there; contacts, docs, picasa, profile and google+. For gmail backup, you can setup email forwarding to send a copy to another address, and/or use imap to copy all your mail, labels and all, from gmail to the local folders in a standard desktop email client. Alternatively, you can use a gmail backup app, there's a bunch of free ones.

Even if your gmail account was shut down, it still wouldn't break your phone - it just would stop being able to sync gmail to it. If your entire account gets banned for some really bad ToS violation (fraud on checkout or the like), you'd have to backup your apps and data, and do a factory reset with a new google account to get rid of the original first one; but the only thing it's required for is the market updates, the rest of android is perfectly happy with no google account data at all - so if you don't need to use the market (cos you use say, the amazon one) your phone will keep on trucking regardless.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Hey, guys? What shape is a ring in? Because there's like, you know, that baddy Sauron who had like One Ring to Rule Them All, and like Google wants you to tie everything together with their G+ shit, and well that's kinda like all about circles which is kinda like rings, and so it's like "One Circle to Rule Them All" right?

(I swear I haven't smoked shit)
posted by symbioid at 4:47 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some reasons why you might not want google storing that much information about your online activity are discussed in this talk.
posted by eviemath at 4:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]



Concerns about privacy don't seem to be "garden variety hysteria" across the pond.


Yes! The EU has generally held that privacy is a right(as in a civil right. if you are a person, you are worthy of privacy.)! America seems to consider privacy a good business practice.

A lot of it is in consumer attitudes, though! Americans tend to be more distrustful of the government and more trusting of corporations, while it's pretty much the exact opposite in the EU.
posted by sawdustbear at 4:56 PM on January 24, 2012


Oh, and the adverts showing/not showing in gmail? Easy. Click on the cog in the top right and goto 'mail settings' (or via the dashboard), find web clips, and turn that off by unticking the box. That clears all adverts on gmail for me with the new theme, even with ad-block turned off.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This announcement makes me uneasy. The discussion here has been interesting, I'm surprised how many folks are happy to say "well of course they share data across their own products". Personally I think Google needs to be held to a higher standard than most companies. Partly because they have so much data about people, and partly because they are so good at processing it. I honestly don't much care of Hotmail uses my email to change mobile ad targeting because those clowns will never get it together to make that work. Google probably will.

I think it's great that Google communicates what they do clearly. And the user dashboard is an unprecedentedly transparent way for users to see what data Google has about them. Seriously, go look, it's a great product. Given that disclosure, I can't really make any argument that Google shouldn't do what they say they're going to do. But boy, it makes me uncomfortable.
posted by Nelson at 5:20 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And you know what - I do have things to hide. They aren't illegal things. But there are things, certainly.

That. An example: My apartment building has a bedbug problem. I have been emailing back and forth with neighbors about the issue, as well as with the management company. I haven't told my main employer about the bedbug problem, because I am a freelancer, and have heard of people getting let go for far stupider reasons.

I keep my personal Gmail open at work, both so I can see email as I receive it, and so I can chat with people during downtime. There I sit, in an open office where people can see right over my shoulder, getting served bedbug text ads in my Gmail window, even though I've opted out of contextual advertising. Which, fine, whatever. But it's going to fucking suck if I will not be able to use my Gmail without regularly seeing graphic AdSense banners on third-party sites that tout products related to bedbugs, or my health issues, or anything else that I mention in private emails, but don't particularly want my coworkers to know about.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:23 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


On the flip side of this coin...this type of information gathering is compounded with internet users of today also being "trapped" in an automated filter bubble (TED Talk) that makes guesses on what we want to see, without potentially showing us what we *need* to see.
posted by samsara at 5:29 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the Do Not Track info, Postroad. I just installed it. I'm happy to report that one of my "-tube" sites only has 1 tracking on, and that is Google Analytics (which everyone and their mom has these days). What kind of evil is YOUR favorite porn site up to?
posted by symbioid at 5:59 PM on January 24, 2012


A long time ago, I used Gchat to talk to somebody at a software vendor about one of our servers.
To this day, I see Google ads for their competitor. I have never, ever, done any google searches for anything about it, nor have I ever said the name of the vendor in an email or anything.


Chats are stored just like emails, so it makes sense they're parsed like them as well. Next time you're in gmail, do a search on "is:chat" (without the quotes). Poof, all your old chats.
posted by inigo2 at 6:13 PM on January 24, 2012


I assume "off the record" mode in gchat also keeps the content from being used for ad tracking?
posted by nobody at 6:43 PM on January 24, 2012


Thanks for the Do Not Track info, Postroad. I just installed it.

I see the website. I see that. However, is it available at addons.mozilla.org?
posted by cashman at 6:47 PM on January 24, 2012


Seconding thanks to postroad for the Do Not Track info. Installed, works great.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:54 PM on January 24, 2012


Some reasons why you might not want google storing that much information about your online activity are discussed in this talk.

That's a really excellent and interesting talk about Tor. Good stuff. Motivated me to finally try out the software, and it just works. I don't know if it has much relevance to Google's latest moves, but I'm going to try and remember to run some occasional web searches through Tor, for things I don't really want to see ads about in the future. Diversity of users.
posted by sfenders at 6:59 PM on January 24, 2012


cashman: "Thanks for the Do Not Track info, Postroad. I just installed it.

I see the website. I see that. However, is it available at addons.mozilla.org
"

http://dnt.mozilla.org/
posted by dejah420 at 8:12 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just joined the EFF
posted by edmo at 8:26 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


thanks, dejah. I already had that checked. appreciate it.
posted by cashman at 8:43 PM on January 24, 2012


The unseen guest at every table. The unheard listener to every conversation.

Jesus.
Google.
posted by unSane at 9:00 PM on January 24, 2012


I'm chiming in again because I want to clarify that "Do Not Track Plus" that Postroad mentioned is not the same thing as the Mozilla Do Not Track addon that dejah linked to.

Do Not Track Plus appears to be some sort of private company, I have no insight into what they do, but it looks like they just cross reference known companies that do behavioral tracking and block those cookies. Awesome. This is their app on addons.mozilla.org - TACO(targeted advertising cookie optout) which seems to do pretty much what Do Not Track Plus purports to.

The Mozilla Do Not Track addon, well...haha, that's a story.

In late 2010, a "Do Not Track" proposal to consistently communicate a user's tracking preferences was conceived by several researchers, the main players coming out of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law. This is their website, http://donottrack.us/. What the proposal entailed is that a "do not track" preference would be set in the user's browser, and would be transmitted via HTTP headers to every website the user visited.

Sounds awesome, right? Three major browsers are now on board and provide this "do not track" option in their most recent browser releases - Firefox, IE and Safari. See a glaring omission? Yep, Google Chrome! Google does provide an app called "Keep my Opt Outs" that will remember preferences for the Digital Advertising Alliance's cookies if a user opts out of them. There are some issues here, of course, like the fact that the DAA only has optouts for 80 or so members(hint: there are far more than 80 internet companies that engage in behavioral advertising). By the way, the DAA and the NAI's optouts is currently the ad industry's centralized solution to opting out of behavioral advertising.

Back to Mozilla's Do Not Track, the solution proposed by independent privacy researchers. It's a great solution, except for one major problem! So, your browser is sending your privacy preference to ad networks via your HTTP headers...okay, great. It doesn't work unless they acknowledge it. Here are fourteen companies that have agreed to acknowledge the Do Not Track header. Yep. Fourteen. Google's not one of them, in case you were wondering.

I guess my point is that this is all more complicated than it has to be.
posted by sawdustbear at 9:09 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


>Or does it mean that Google will recognize my IP or whatever cookies I have saved in my browser, such that even if I'm not logged in (or if I'm logged into MetaFilter), they'll track my activity?

If you have chrome installed on windows, your PC now "phones" home to google HQ every hour to check whether there is a chrome update available. The chrome install configures the task scheduler to run the update check. Take a look and then disable it.

So they have your IP right there. No need to bother with browsers and third party sites anymore.

Last time I looked FF's "safebrowsing" feature used a google service which checks every url you go to for safeness. Don't know what chrome does as I don't use it anymore.

And then people use gmail for ALL their mail?! Wow, why not install a video camera in every room too and get a "property of google" forehead tatoo?

Do they combine all this info? Don't know, probably not, but the info is already all there.

All that said, they do make damn good stuff. Curse them!
posted by w.fugawe at 11:13 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is their app on addons.mozilla.org - TACO(targeted advertising cookie optout) which seems to do pretty much what Do Not Track Plus purports to.

I can't resist adding to the complication by mentioning that Beef Taco is an open source fork of TACO created in response to the original version going commercial.
posted by Lorin at 12:26 AM on January 25, 2012


I had no idea they weren't already doing this.

Anyway, I do feel kind of uncomfortable about them getting all this data, even if it's only seen by an AI that really just wants to show me appropriate ads. Especially since it can't, as I run adblock and never see ads anyway (at least in firefox).

That said, since I use firefox for most of my browsing I never installed any adblockers in chrome. So when I do randomly go to youtube in chrome I always see ads for "realtime PCR" Apparently google thinks what I really need is a way to quickly analyze vast amounts of DNA...
posted by delmoi at 12:33 AM on January 25, 2012


I have my own domain, what's a good replacement for gmail? I don't want to roll my own because I don't want to deal with spam filtering. Are there any good/cheap European hosts (as I get the impression that Europe cares more about privacy these days)?
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:51 AM on January 25, 2012


Rooting in America must be something different in Australia. We don't generally root phones here.
posted by taff at 2:25 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the subject of browser tracking, I recommend checking out Ghostery if you haven't already done so. It doesn't rely on advertisers respecting "do not track" cookies and provides a handy way to manage tracker blacklisting.
posted by apatharch at 5:37 AM on January 25, 2012


Rooting in America must be something different in Australia. We don't generally root phones here.

Heh. It means to gain 'root' level access to a phone. Since the phones run a variant of unix, the superuser account is called root, so if you log on as root you can do whatever you want.
posted by delmoi at 5:58 AM on January 25, 2012


You can also call rooting "jailbreaking" which people somehow usually only mean to do the same thing to an iPhone. I don't know why people call it rooting versus jailbreaking, because both phones are "jailed" and run "a variant of Unix" because the iPhone runs a fork of the XNU/FreeBSD kernel, instead of Android's fork of the Linux kernel.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:03 AM on January 25, 2012


Honestly, at this point google could put a camera in most people's bedrooms and as long as gmail is free they'd find a reason it was okay.

...

This is what child molesters do. They start off by giving you candy. Can we get Google registered as a sex offender?

It's a good thing the Google critics are keeping such a rational perspective and not resorting to hyperbole hamburger.

And Apple partisans. (daring fireball, especially)
posted by empath

Haha. You've traced the anti-google trend to apple fans? Does it make it easier to be a google apologist with someone to blame?


Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, or pretty much anyone trying to compete with Google.

But more relevantly here, sensationalist journalism looking for easy clicks.

The unseen guest at every table. The unheard listener to every conversation.

Jesus.
Google.


...

I have my own domain, what's a good replacement for gmail?

Do y'all use Internet service providers or do you magically create your Internet connections?

AT&T/U-Verse Privacy Policy
Comcast Privacy Policy

and you are worried about Google knowing what you do online?!? At least you can log out of or not use Google.

From Comcast:

"Comcast holds customer privacy in the highest regard and we make every reasonable effort to protect your privacy as described in this Privacy Policy. Nevertheless, we may be required by law to disclose Personally Identifiable Information or other information about you or other users of the Comcast Web Services. These disclosures may be made with or without your consent, and with or without notice, in compliance with the terms of a subpoena, court order, search warrant, or other valid legal process. We may also disclose information about you or users of the Comcast Web Services when we believe in good faith that the disclosure of information is necessary to prevent financial loss, address suspected illegal activity, protect our rights or property, or prevent imminent physical harm."

Emphasis mine.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:20 AM on January 25, 2012


I have my own domain, what's a good replacement for gmail?

Gmail is a great replacement for Gmail! That is, Google Apps for Business, which has its own terms of service. Your email is not scanned for ads. It costs $50/user/year, but I think it's well worth it compared to the time you'd spend setting up your own infrastructure (which I've unfortunately done many times before). I use this for my personal stuff, and pay $150/year (two users plus one dedicated admin account - you don't really need to do it that way, but I'm a stickler for that sort of thing).
posted by me & my monkey at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2012


samsara: ..."trapped" in an automated filter bubble that makes guesses on what we want to see, without potentially showing us what we *need* to see.

You can easily bypass this with the google 'verbatim' search option. Does exactly what you would think.

Before I discovered this I tried using DuckDuckGo but after a week or so I went back to google - it is just so much faster (precisely because of the nefarious 'filter bubble' effect) and invariably returns the exact thing I am looking for. And if I do want to escape my bubble (this is rare because I like my bubble a lot) then I can just take a wee holiday on reddit.

Like quite a few others here, I consider any information I provide to Google while using their services fair game (and fair exchange for what are many of my favourite things about the internets) ; all of the hullaballoo about 'no opting out' seems to ignore the fact that nobody is forcing you to use any Google products at all.
posted by omnikron at 10:02 AM on January 25, 2012


Lifehacker did a recent alternative to Google piece for search (DDG), mail (hotmail), calendar (Zoho). In fact Zoho appears to offer a complete replacement for Google's app suite, so this may be a viable alternative. I know nothing about it---can't look at it from work---but it looks like one of the more complete alternatives.
posted by bonehead at 11:02 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chrome is suddenly not doing searches for me when I type them into the combo URL-search magic bar -- it instead takes me to the Google search homepage. The problem goes away if I choose Duck Duck Go + Google Suggest for my search engine. Is this at all related?
posted by weston at 4:56 PM on January 25, 2012


Actually one thing that I discovered recently that's incredibly disconcerting about Google+ is that you should make sure you choose or specify:

Profile not visible in search

in the Discovery field (Edit Profile and scroll to the last field in "Profile" criteria) or your profile photo, everything in your profile and all comments and content is made available to anyone who searches for you in Google search (or an search engine that leverages it like ixquick.com).

Google will remove that information from search results instantaneously.
posted by Skygazer at 7:42 PM on January 25, 2012


"Comcast Web Services" is Comcast websites, not their ISP.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:01 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's because I'm vewy vewy quiet, but my G+ profile doesn't show up when I search for my real name.
posted by wierdo at 9:15 PM on January 25, 2012


Neither do I, but somehow the Google search engine amalgamated something in G+ or from some other service or Google service and totally nailed it. It was a bit f'ed up actually.

The Google is making connections and filling in the blanks.
posted by Skygazer at 10:36 PM on January 25, 2012


Dear Google user,

We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.

We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.


...

Understand how Google uses your data

If you want to learn more about your data on Google and across the web, including tips and advice for staying safe online, check out http://www.google.com/goodtoknow
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From some mail I got.
posted by zennie at 7:42 PM on January 26, 2012


That is, Google Apps for Business, which has its own terms of service. Your email is not scanned for ads. It costs $50/user/year

Hmm, my (soon to be former) university is currently in the process of switching from novell webmail to Gmail, think they've already migrated most of the students across.

Anyway, just did a quick back of the envelope calculation, and I really hope they're getting a volume discount. (or if someone is in the know, would novell be more expensive?)
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:33 AM on January 27, 2012


Congress Puts Google On Defense Over Privacy Policy Changes

On Thursday night, eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives — five Democrats and three Republicans — sent an open letter to Google CEO Larry Page, asking “why Google feels that these changes are necessary, and what steps are being taken to ensure the protection of consumers’ privacy rights”?

The letter asks Google 11-multipart questions about the privacy changes, including the wide-ranging “Please describe all information Google collects from consumers now,” and “who has access to users’ personal information?” and demands answers no later than February 16, 2012.

posted by madamjujujive at 10:00 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyway, just did a quick back of the envelope calculation, and I really hope they're getting a volume discount. (or if someone is in the know, would novell be more expensive?)

First, it's highly unlikely that your university is buying Apps for Business. Instead, they're getting Apps for Education, which ranges from free to very cheap depending on the number of seats. It has similar terms of service to Apps for Business.

Second, even if they were buying Apps for Business, it would most likely still be cheaper. Most organizations I know using GroupWise pay more than $50/user/year to maintain their systems. I've worked with several businesses that migrated from GroupWise to Apps, and they're all saving a bundle overall.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2012


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