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Google is watching every step you take

With the recent news of Google "streamlining" their privacy policies (Translation: data collected from their various Google services will now be pooled together for better advertising), there has been a bit of a backlash. Scratch that, outside of the bubble that is AndroidCentral, many are calling it the "end of do no evil". Why, just check this Bing News search for "Google" and "Privacy" to see what we mean.

So with that as a background, hearing this song parody from Tampa Bay's Q105 radio made us certainly chuckle. Maybe now is a good time to switch from Google to Live Mail? Speaking of, anyone remember Microsoft's 'Gmail Man' satire?

Source: Q105; via FX Shaw; Google image credit: World Under Watch Blogspot

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • That's funny. 'Ole Mason Dixon has been doing paradoys in this market for 20+ years.
    I really, really, really, don't care for Google anymore.
  • I remember that advert we were selecting BPOS at the time over Google Apps. I am glad we went BPOS tbh and will shortly transition to 365. One of the discussions at the tiime was the uncertainty of how Google will act in the future and ironically the defunct labs function.
  • OMG That was too funny!
  • Google has been taking ques from Microsoft's old playbook of 'Monopoly is a game, we are trying to rule the world'
  • Except who has the monopoly now? Google might be freely giving out Android and their services but always want something in return.
  • Google is evil! As much as I like their products and services, this really yanks my chain (metaphorically speaking of course)
  • lol
    love the song 10/10 
  • Except that you KNOW that Microsoft is just sitting and waiting to see how this all plays out.  They want a piece of this same pie and Google can pull this off, MS will be right behind them.  Android requires a gmail account to use it and Windows Phone requires a Live or Hotmail account and that's going to be there admission key to your privacy. 
    That said, we've already ceded a ton of privacy over to various internet constituencies.  I have little doubt that we will grow accustomed to this as well.
  • Google doesn't sell anything except you to advertisers. Microsoft sells licenses for software to end users and/or OEMs. That's a very different business model and I would not be so fast to equate the two.
  • What is Google selling about you that other companies, including MS, don't? Please explain since you must know more then us about the practice of Google compared to say, Facebook.
  • The motivations to collect your data behind each business model is really different. Google and Facebook need your data to survive, so by having a pool filled with all the little details of your life, they can target ads directly to you, thus making it more profitable (both Google and FB). In contrast, MS makes a living by selling their software, so it's irrelevant for them how much data you provide.
    Want to see something creepy? Just go to, and realize how much of your data Google controls (if you use their services).
  • @r3ddawn74 Getting a little agressive I see... Microsoft sells licenses to indivduals, enterprise and OEMs for their services, software and patents. Google sells you to advertisers for all their products, including their phones which are riddled with ads (and recently Carrier IQ). Those are completely different business models and to suggest that Google is no different than Microsoft shows a gross misunderstanding of how those companies make money.  As far as Facebook, I don't use it because of privacy concerns (and I find it creepy). Whereas Hotmail (free) is ad supported you can pay $19.95 for Hotmail Plus which gets rid of the ads (and gives more options). And that's the difference--you can pay for the service versus being sold to advertisers. Does Google offer anything similar? No, they do not. Going further, these changes that Google are making have no opt-out for end users--your option is to consent or close all of your accounts. There is also no evidence that Microsoft is planning on following this model by using all data from their services (Zune, Xbox, Hotmail, Windows Phone, Windows OS, Office, etc.) to form a unified database on you, based on a single ID. Perhaps they will and in that sense, it's a matter of degrees. But for many, Google's model of "everything for free because you're the product" leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
  • @ Daniel, not aggressive, ;-)
    Google does not sell or share information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission. No email content or other personally identifiable information are provided to advertisers. They provide advertisers only aggregated non-personal information such as the number of times one of their ads was clicked. Ad targeting, for example, as with Gmail, is fully automated, and no humans read your email in order to target advertisements or related information. This type of automated scanning is how many email services, not just Gmail, provide features like spam filtering and spell checking. This is no different to what MS does, or other's with ad companies do. Nothing personal about you, is sold or used or seen. Trust me, MS wishes they had the dominance in the search field, to have the same data to tailor products, and ad's for. Yet nothing personal about you, is sold, or used. End of story. 
    Use adblock if ad's bother you...
  • Well, that's what Google tells us. You apparently trust them; I don't. Their motivation to make more and more money is above all else. Greed is running rampant within US business and it's troubling to me. Businesses in other supposedly civilized countries don't operate this way.
  • Actually, no, I only posted here and in the other article, because of what I do for a living. I, nor anyone else, should trust any, ANY, company with your data, which is why they must go through security audits, to verify their practice and the level of security being used. The simple truth is, Google is probably one of the biggest, most scrutinized comapines around, due to their dominance in the search market and wealth of data, as they should be. During our audits, they passed. If your personal information, and/or data was being sold, you'd see it on every major news site around the world. Nothing personal is being viewed/sold. If it was, I would certainly tell everyone never to use them.
  • Well at least that's keeping them on their toes hiding information from the auditors! I think Foxconn passes their audits, too...
  • Google does allow the US government access to all the information they have on you.  Freely, without a warrant, and without notifying you.
  • That is a flat out lie! The amount of mis-information that get's posted here is incredible, to say the least. Google, nor ANY other company that I know of, and have done audits on, DO NOT share information about you with government agencies, without, WITHOUT, warrents, or having to obey some law. Your ISP will have much more on you then Google or any other company, mind you, if they wanted information about you! If you hate some company, which I'm guessing for you is Google, that's on you, but don't spread lies, they only make you look foolish!
  • That is a flat out lie!  Some audit, I bet you lie about that too!

    Open your eyes.
  • Your posting information about people that were under investigation, and by law, that information is allowed to be given over, which ANY company would do. You take one good example of a user, a single one, that had information about Wikileaks, which the DOJ was investigating, handed over, and then yell out that they are sharing everyone's information with the government. Seriously? And people with any bit of commen sense, will see past that. What your trying to state, is your hate for a company, and doing all you can to point out anything possible to further that case. And you don't have to trust me, never said that, I said from my experience in the field. Plenty of "legitimate" information out there for people to find that show the truth, of which, I doubt you care to see. Your ISP can and does hand over information about you, MS, and every other company out there, do, and can, hand over information about you. So are you going to stop using the internet then? I know the workings of most companies with sensitive consumer data, and if, for one second, I found, knew, or was proven, that the data was being misused, I would tell everyone I know never to use them again. The ONLY company I tell users NOT to be with, is Facebook, Google is the least of my worries, unless I have a personal grudge against them, as you seem to have.
  • Microsoft does also sell advertising and does also track you. I was researching their SCOM product using Bing the other day. Later, when I was using an ad-supported app on my WP, guess what ads popped up? SCOM consultants. Coincidence? Absolutely not.
    The bottom line is if you use any cloud services you are giving up privacy and certain rights. Your data can also just vanish if the cloud provider wants it to. People are selling their souls willingly in exchange for cheap/free services and shiny gadgets.
  • Two things: Microsoft does not tie advertising to your name or personal information Did you know you can opt out of of Microsoft's internet-based advertising? You can. Not saying MS are saints here, just that they give you more choices and it's not stored in a single DB tied to your name and personal information. It's an important distinction, imo.
  • I appreciate the link and will give it a try. Google has been evil in my opinion when they started putting advertisers at the top of search results. In the beginning, they did this and did not label them as advertisers. Then they started reading all Gmail emails. These are evil actions, but no one seemed to care and they had the biggest IPO in history. The latest privacy policy is just another step. They will keep going until someone cares. By the looks of it, based on Android sales, Chrome usage, and Google search usage, no one cares. Well, except a few of us... Regarding Microsoft, it's good that you can opt out, but not good enough. It should be that you need to opt in. I understand Microsoft doing this, though. Until laws come down to stop all this privacy theft they have to do it in order to compete. I don't like big government, but if the industry won't regulate itself and mind their own business then I favor a swift federal crackdown on all the offenders.
  • bing sells itself to advertisers as doing targeted ads.  Doesn't it stand to reason that they are collecting the exact same info as google?  If they have this data, whether it's tied to a name or not, it's theirs to use if they decide it worked well enough for google.
  • I deleted my google account just the other day, not that I really used it anyways
  • I also just recently deleted my Gmail acct which I've had for a long time and used alot. Facebook is next. These companies have too much info on you.
  • There is a fair amount of peer pressure to use these services though, which speaks to how compelling they can be.  For example, I don't have Gmail or Facebook and if I am trying to do something that would require a technological solution, someone might say "you can do that on FB" or "you can do that over this Google product."  Then I'd reply saying I have no way to use that service and they would be completely incredulous.  Like how can I not use Google products of FB?  That's actually a good enough reason to NOT use them.
  • So being pro-WP7 also means being anti-google?  That's what I don't like about the phone, and I guess about this site too.
    Just because I use a WP7 phone, it doesn't mean that I think Bing is the best search engine (it isn't) or hotmail is the best email (it isn't!) or zune is the best source for music (it isn't!) or bing maps are best (they aren't!).
    That's one of the best things about the iPhone: I know that Apple's only ulterior motive is to steer me towards their music store.  They dont' force me to use any particular search engine.  Or email provider.  Or social network.  iPhone has great apps from, microsoft, from google, and from others.
  • "Clearly people are reacting to the fact that users will have one identity across many products and services," Polonetsky said. "But that is exactly what Apple is having so much success doing. If I want to get a video I have to use my iTunes account, if I want to put an app on my phone I use the App Store and the advertising comes from iAds. At the same time that Google is making this announcement Apple is announcing its spectacular earnings on Wall Street." There's always a tradeoff.
  • Google is not good, period.
  • Honestly I think Google was already doing this for awhile now & made it official. That's why when I was looking to upgrade from my Pre I wanted to avoid Android like the Plague. Luckily I found Window Phone it all worked out cause I wasn't going to Apple either.