Google Wants To Track You More, But It’s Optional
If you have a Google account, you’ve probably received notice recently of a new “optional” set of tools for controlling how your web searches, YouTube viewing, Gmail, and other Google activities are shared with advertisers. The new features also include the ability to exercise finer control over what ads you see, and make it easier to “kill” ads you don’t want to see. Should you “opt in” or leave things as they are? Read on...
How to Control Google's Data Collection
What’s really new is that Google has made these changes “opt-in,” meaning they won’t take effect unless you affirmatively grant permission. That’s a big change from the typical “opt-out” scenario in which things suddenly change and you have to figure out how to get the old settings back.
The new features are described in a strangely fragmented page that you can find on the New Features for your Google Account page. The first thing you’ll notice is that Google wants to share your Google activities with third parties -- “websites and apps that partner with Google.”
Currently, what you do on Google is used only by Google to tailor ads that appear on Google properties. If you opt-in to the new features, other sites will use your Google activities to tailor ads that appear on their properties to your (presumed) needs.
The “bait” that Google offers to entice you to opt-in includes new capabilties in a new My Account dashboard. One tempting bait bit is the ability to kill ads that relentlessly follow you everywhere.
For example, you may have searched for “gas grills” weeks ago. But now, ads from a gas grill sellers appear on your PC, your phone, your Chromecast, and every other device on which you use a Chrome browser. They won't go away even if you've already bought one, or decided not to purchase at this time. In the past, you had to kill those annoyances one by one, on each device. Now, "My Account" lets you kill an ad across all devices with one click.
My Account also lets you comb through your own Google actvity history and delete items that you’d rather not let Google or any “partners” remember. You can also tweak the types of data that Google collects from your My Account dashboard. All you have to do is let Google share your Google activities with “partners,” without limitation of the number of partners or knowledge of exactly who the partners are. Will you make that trade?
Should You Opt In?
Google stresses that no matter which choice you make, two things will remain the same. First, Google does not sell your personal information to anyone. And second, you are in control of the types of information that Google can collect and use. There is a lot of misinformation and paranoia about what data Google collects, as well as what and how they share with third parties. Suffice it to say that any information passed along to advertisers is done after "anonymizing" the data. Nothing that personally identifies you is shared with third parties.
Facebook has tried something similar, with the big difference that users who objected to the sharing of the Facebook activity with unknown “partners” had to opt out after they’d already been forced into the program. Google’s opt-in approach is certainly preferable from users’ perspective.
You can’t opt into something you don’t know about, so every Google account holder will keep seeing the notices about this change until he or she takes action on it - either opting in or saying, “no thanks, keep things as they have been.”
The choice is yours. What will you do? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 8 Jul 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Google Wants To Track You More, But It’s Optional (Posted: 8 Jul 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved