Google Users Don't Seem Upset With New Privacy Policy

Jan 27, 2012 • 8:33 am | comments (5) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google News & Finances

Google Privacy PolicyGoogle announced a new privacy policy earlier this week that goes into effect in about a month. The news sites and stations are having a field day with it - covering how "evil" it is. In fact, I just saw something on the local news with my wife about it and it was pretty serious.

But outside of all the news coverage and bloggers acting very upset with Google about it - are Google users all that upset?

The Washington Post ran a poll for their users asking if you will cancel your Google account and 65% currently are saying yes.

Google Privacy Policy

As Chris Sherman notes that the "picture isn't so clear." He looks at Google suggestions to see if people are searching on how to cancel their accounts and it appears not.

I checked the the Google Web Search Help forum and there are barely any complaints. Which I find to be a really good indicator if the actual user is upset or not. I actually found a single complaint in the Google Web Search Help forum - that is it.

So are Google searchers really upset? Maybe they aren't fully aware? I would be surprised by that. Google is blasting the news on every page a Google user visits. The news and media are plastering the evil nature of this everywhere. How can they not be aware? Maybe I don't give the Google user enough credit. :)

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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Tad Chef

01/27/2012 02:33 pm

I already started using alternatives for Google products long ago. So I can stop using most of Google services. On sites like Google+ I share only things that are public in nature anyways. Will I dump all Google services right now? Probably not. I will gradually switch to others over time. I think I will write a post on the best Google service alternatives on my blog to help people quit. Luckily Google Analytics, GMail or Google Reader are not the only game in town.


01/27/2012 08:08 pm

Storm in a teacup if you ask me.


01/28/2012 05:56 am

Is this Goggle's Netflix moment? Not only should big G retract, it should allow users to opt out of all their spy-vertising schemes with the click of a button. Of course, they'll leave me alone since I was born in 1911 ;)

Digital Climb

01/28/2012 05:17 pm

I don't think half of the people even read what the updated policy contains. The average person has seen so many of those privacy updates (desensitized) that the majority just hit agree and move on.

Ken Evoy

01/29/2012 04:55 pm

Hi Barry, This is a terrific post. It confirms what I wrote about yesterday, when  I commented about this in a 7-part series at Google's Public Policy Blog, in their post that tried to "set the record" straight after a wild backlash from webmasters and the media. My comments start at... (Part 4 is out of order. Scroll down to find it.) I'll explain how this post confirms that in a second. First, though, to summarize... This it NOT about Google's products. They're great and users know it. It is not even about the increased invasion of privacy. WE all know that we "pay" for those "free" products with our private data (AND advertising revenue to Google).  However, assimilating data across all of their services/products puts an incredible amount of information about you into their hands. It's a massive change to their privacy policy. The have the right to do that. But since it's a big change, they must get permission from users. THAT is a problem for Google. Your post shows how much the "digerati" (web-savvy) understand how profound this change is.  We can, therefore, choose to continue with Google, or not, fully informed. The "digerati" account for, let's say, 1/100 people online. And they are outraged.  Google can live with that. It'll pass. But Google does NOT want the average "(wo)man on the street" to understand what "simplifying" really means -- THEY are the 99%. If they were accurately informed, many might decline. So.. Google presents this as "simplifying" their privacy policy. The emphasize the benefits to the products they use. They bury the rest. They could, of course, have easily simplified without pulling all the data on you (from all sources) together.  So this is much more than "simplification." It's about smarter ads which pull more clicks, and for which advertisers will pay more. It's about money.  As I demonstrated in my replies to Google, the average user of the Net is extremely unknowledgeable.  (See the videos referenced in my posts to Google.) We live in our "digerati bubble" and forget that. We assume folks know what RSS means, what a browser is. They don't.  So we've framed our answers incorrectly -- we've framed them in our terms instead of in the average person's. Google knows all this. So the strategy is to play up the simplification of privacy and play down the aggregation of all the data that they have on you. Your post shows the split in opinion between the digerati and everyone else nicely. Chris Sherman, for example, points out how so few people are searching for "how to close my Google account" that it does not show up in Instant.  What does that mean? Google's strategy, a campaign of selective disinformation is working. No one is upset in the mass market.  I lay it out in detail in my posts to Google. They have the right to combine all info on us.  BUT... They have the OBLIGATION to enable the average person to make a full, informed consent when asking for permission to do so. Google is a master of doublespeak. You have to examine their words closely to see how they sway, calm and otherwise mislead. Then you have to consider the everyday user of the Web and decide if s/he really understands what it all really means. -- Like I said, we "pay" for those products with information about us. The average person DESERVES to know exactly HOW MUCH s/he is paying when clicking "OK" to the new privacy terms.   Google is doing its best NOT to deliver the complete "price" clearly, openly and fairly so that "EVERYMAN" completely understands.  Why? Because they'd get the same reaction from them that they are getting from webmasters and the media. Please do read my replies to them and tell Google to stop hoodwinking people. Please tell them right on their blog post (the same one I replied to).  THAT would give the media more to chew on.   As long as the average person gives full, informed consent, Google has every right to know every single thing we do, say and search for on the Web. BUT... they must ask for full, informed consent. If they don't, regulators should insist upon it. All the best,  Ken Evoy Founder, P.S. I enjoySEORoundtable greatly. I always get something from it of value. Thanks for a great blog! :-)

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