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Policies, Personalized Search & Privacy Invasion

big brother is watchingIt’s not even halfway through March of 2012 yet and backlash against Google seems to be at an all time high. Let’s take a look:

The New Privacy Policy
In January, Google announced an update to their privacy policy so that all your personal information (including most intimate search habits) are shared amongst their 60+ properties (Gmail, YouTube, Picasa and Google Maps). For those of you worried that all your personal information being spread so thin, the bad news is that you CAN’T opt out. The “good” thing is that Google assures that this information will be tailored to your preferences and enhance your search experience.

Screenwise – Get Paid to Get Spied On
Would you like Google to track your every move? How about if you could get a $25 gift card in return? Google’s next project, Screenwise, will let users do just that. Volunteers will be monitored via a browser extension and this research project is strictly an opt-in option. Anyone interested and willing to participate?

Majority of Users View Personalized Search Results as a “Bad Thing”
A survey by Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 65% of users view personalized search results as a bad thing because it limits the information you get. Overall, 73% felt that it’s an invasion of privacy. The question is, will you continue to use? There are easy alternatives that include: search without being logged in, use non-personalized browsing (Chrome’s incognito or Internet Explorer’s InPrivate Browsing mode).

Obviously, the good still outweighs the bad by far in user experience, especially when compared with other search options out there. No one is being forced to use these free services. But what do you feel about all these new Google changes?

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