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Will You Hide From Google?

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I suspect many of you reading this are Gmail users and have recently been bombarded with notices about the updating of their privacy policy. I encountered this article on Wired.com that suggests ways of hiding from “Big Brother” Google – http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Hide_From_Google.

I began thinking of how this change in their privacy policy would impact all of us or would we even notice? Simply put, this change in their privacy policy means that Google will combine all of the data that they gather about your actions across their multiple platforms (YouTube, Gmail, Search, Buzz if any of you are still hanging on) and profile you more completely.

As a project manager here at User Insight, I have witnessed more than one thousand in-person interviews over the years. One persistent truth I have heard from users is that advertising content must be relevant, otherwise it will be ignored. Users like to “see themselves” in the digital experiences our clients have to offer. Seen through the rosiest of glasses, this big change in Google’s privacy policy should be a good thing. Advertising content should be more relevant and better fit the context of our digital lives. After all, Google’s motto is “Do No Evil.”

There’s a flip side to this argument, of course, that the monitoring of our activities will undermine the basic concept of the liberty we hold dear as Americans. Who will Google share our activities with? For now, I’m willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt and am probably unwilling to go the extent this article’s author suggests in “hiding from Google.” How about you?

Talk to Jonathan on Twitter @jonyard.