Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Google Aims to Own Your ID - One Way or Another.

In an article posted earlier, I mentioned how Google was attempting to roll out prison-internet features via it's services such as YouTube, and Gmail. This, however, appears to be part of a much larger scheme.

Google has recently developed and launched a new social networking platform by the name of G+, or Google Plus. Google Chairman, and former C.E.O. Eric Schmidt has referred to G+ as an “identity service”, and taken from an article at buisnessweek.com stated:

G+ was built primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information.
Personal information is quite valuable to Google, as it's able to target specific advertising to specific demographics, and with advertising agencies looking to get the most customers with the least cost, the more information Google has on you, the more money you're likely to make them.

However, not all people will become a member of the new G+ service, and there will be users of other Google services such as YouTube, and Gmail, that will not link personal information, such as age, gender, or location to their accounts.

It appears that Google is attempting to make the most profit off of your internet activity, by coercing users of it's other services to give them more of their personal information. As shown in the following graphic, that is displayed to users of Google services while attempting to log in, without having a phone number linked to that account.

Google attempts to scare users into providing their phone number by warning that they are likely to lose all access to their account if they don't, which is highlighted in red font. Below that they provide a location to put your phone number, and a large, promptly displayed "add phone" button, making users believe they have to provide a phone number to continue to use the service they were attempting to access. It's only below that, it a font size much smaller than the rest of the page, that users are given the option to skip providing Google with that information.

Edit 8/31/11 12:32 AM: This is the latest screen that appeared for myself while attempting to log into Google services such as GMail, YouTube, and Blogger:

This time I'm being warned that I should "wait until it's too late" to give Google my personal information, for tracking, advertising, and of course, security purposes.
End Edit

One has to question what is being done with that information, who see's it, and what other information it's linked to. That question is even more prominent given Google's past reputation regarding privacy.

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