The past week or so there has been a lot of angst directed toward Google following the announcement that they would be consolidating the privacy policies for over 60 different products into one global policy that would cover every interaction you have with Google on the internet. In response to this a number of companies including Microsoft and the Technology news website Gizmodo have quickly jumped on the Google bashing ship. Microsoft has published a number of newspaper adds essentially saying Google is evil, come use our products instead. Gizmodo, the eager to be controversial tech news blog that brought us the iPhone 4 leak fiasco a number of years ago also published a piece titled “Google’s Broken Promise: The End of ‘Don’t Be Evil’”.
Following this Google has issued a response in the form of a post on its public policy blog clearly stating what they do and do not do. Like two kids having a fight in the school yard Microsoft then replied to this blog with another that in simple English translated to “nah you’re the worst”. To truly understand the impact of this change and ignore the sensationalist information around the internet you just need to stop and think for a second what Google is and what they are trying to do.
Image source http://www.gizmodo.com.au/
On one hand (some say the evil hand) you have Google the advertising company who collects information about its users so that it can then sell ad space to other company’s on the chance that people will click or look at the given ad. No doubt the more data Google has about you the more likely that you will be shown an ad that may interest you and thus click earns Google money. On the other hand there is the Google that provides a large variety of free services some of which have indisputably changed the course of the world.
So what does this policy change mean to you and I? At its basic level it means that separate Google products can now look relevant advertising data collected about users from other products. For example YouTube can now display ad’s based on what types of android app’s you download. Going back to that good Google bad Google I spoke of before, this change will now doubt make it easier for Google to offer advertisers targeted ad’s that have a higher likelihood of being clicked on. On the other hand Google is providing more relevant information to its consumers (ignoring the medium). For the average person, these changes will have no impact on them at all and the reality of this situation is like for most high profile items of news, there will always be someone there to sensationalise it for their own benefit (selling apps or gaining readers).