By B.L. Ochman
On March 1st, Google will not only compromise our privacy on a scale most of us never imagined, it also will change our ability to learn different opinions with their new search and privacy policies. And there’s really not a damn thing you can do about it. I don’t call that Doing No Evil. Do you?
Having the right to one’s point of view and expressing opinions that are unique to you are among the greatest gifts of democracy and freedom. Differing opinions and viewpoints are what push the human beings ahead, scientifically, economically, intellectually, and spiritually. Google’s new privacy and search policies take that freedom away in large degree by limiting what you learn to what you and your friends already know.
Google will aggregate information from gmail, google search, youtube, Google Adwords, Google wallet (tracking what you buy) and more and combine the information about you so it can deliver more of what it calls “relevant” ads.
Information or photos you have shared with people through gmail (what, you thought your email was private?), Google+ or Picasa are now going to show up in these people’s searches, as theirs will in your searches.
You do have other options.
Read these and then continue to learn why you’d be smart of start using them – hard as it is to leave the mother ship.
Ixquick which calls itself “the world’s most private search engine” says it doesn’t record your IP Address https://us2.ixquick.com/eng/protect-privacy.html or use tracking cookies.
Yauba is a brand new yet fully fledged semantic search engine with their own index and a claim to offer truly anonymous search with three levels of privacy. It will soon offer an uncluttered user interface which is easy to use yet holds a number of advanced search options.
Here are tips on preserving your online privacy from The World Privacy Forum. They recommend, for example, using an anonymizing tool like Anonymizer.com which has a pay service and a free service.
Mainly, they recommend breaking our dependency on any one search engine.
– Don’t use Google for search and email.
– Don’t use the same search engine for search and news.
– Don’t accept search engine cookies
– Mix it up – use a variety of search engines for different functions.
However, they note, there is no such thing as 100% online privacy. And there never will be again.
You can only sort of opt-out, because opting out will limit the usefulness of many of Google’s services and even Android phones, which run on Google’s operation system.
Why is this happening?
Greed, my friends: pure and simple. This is happening because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. People want content, email, videos, and social networking to be free, but companies still need to make money. And few things are more enticing to Google’s money-paying customers than data they can use to target ads.
This comes on the heels of Google’s new Search, plus Your World, a feature combining search results from the public web with private information and photos you have shared (or that have been shared with you) through Google+ or Picasa. Because Google’s been following us for a long time.
In Google personalized search, for instance, as Scott Buresh explains, perhaps you’ve shown an interest in the topic of sport fishing in your search queries, while your friend has shown an interest in guitars in his search queries. Over time, as these preferences are made clear to Google, your Google personalized search results for the term “bass will largely be about fish, while your friend’s results for “bass” will be comprised of results that primarily cover bass guitars.
Where does it end? It doesn’t.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google’s gifted founders, have often spoken of their desire to turn their Google search into artificial intelligence, which could be connected directly to our brains. (Really!)
In fact, in a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.”
Google manifests The Singularity with their new privacy and search policies.
The Singularity refers to smarter-than-human intelligence, direct brain-computer interfaces, biological augmentation of the brain, genetic engineering, ultra-high-resolution scans of the brain followed by computer emulation to enable the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence
Learning is about what you don’t know
The problem is that when all you learn is about what you already are know or have expressed an interest in, you aren’t really learning. You are re-enforcing your existing views, which easily can lead to the view that what you and your friends and acquaintances think is the total of reality. But in fact, you’ll only see a small part of what you could see if other research tools and semantic databases were integrated with Google results.
Google says you can use a lot of its services without being logged in and that you are only tracked when you log in. But of course you can’t comment on a video, or post in Google+ or use a lot of other Google services without being logged in. And anyway, as they explain, they’ve been collecting information about us for a long time, they’re just telling us about it now.
Keep in mind though, that Google didn’t steal our privacy. We gave it to them. A long time ago.
Thanks for your excellent information.
I’ve never logged in to Google that I know of, and yet I received email from Google directed to all of my inboxes and aliases on live.com and hotmail.com.
Can you ‘splain some more?
yikes, no, i can’t ‘splain that one. sheesh!
“and that you are only tracked when you log in”
Is this actually correct, I couldn’t tell but it sounded like they may still cache info on your computer for collection next time you do log in?
The cynic in me sees this as a trick to catchup with Facebook, since it sounds like google will automatically create an online social profile for you, whether you want one or not.
Google’s new policy has some serious implications for user data and privacy, something we’ve already seen with the company’s decision to use people’s data to buffer up Google Plus.
Google established system for share information with the other Google products, creating a detailed profile of each user based on the personal information gleaned from use of those products
and, because we all want free email, this is the price we pay. howeever, the way google is changing search, so you don’t get a true view od the available research, is neither helpful or useful. that’s a good reason to use another search engine. there are many options. we are all using google out of habit. those can change – hard as it is.
Even with the user data in one storage mechanism, Google still uses their Map-Reduce algorithm to spread data across millions of machines across multiple data centers.
The only time your data is all together in one place is when you log in – your session has access to all your data.
You say “you don’t get a true view od [sic] the available research” but I would say that is a false idea anyway. Any search engine has its own unique algorithm for returning what it considers relevant results. As a researcher you need to know how to find what you want.
If you are getting bass guitar results when you want bass fish results you can do something like “bass -guitar” or “bass +fish”.
Google is huge and everything they do is (rightly) scrutinized but this move is pretty benign I think.
It’s all so MINDGOOGLING!
Thanks for your invaluable insight…
I am far from being what one might consider
“cybersavvy”… In fact, every time I use
my puter, I feel as if I’m about to come down
with an acute case of cyberculosis.
That said, keep fighting the good fight…
It’s much appreciated.
I am surprised you didn’t discuss startpage.com. What are your thoughts on it?