Google Privacy

Google, having already explained to the boys and girls inside the Beltway that they don't need to go all Chicken Little over its upcoming new consolidated privacy policy, today took aim at Redmond, Wash., for (if you can believe it) acting even more childish. More specifically, Google responded to claims from Microsoft (among others) that it's evil, it's only out to sell your information and that if you're not careful, Google will loosen your teeth while you sleep. (We might be confused over that last point.)

For those of you who don't ready words printed on dried pulp, the full-page ads Microsoft has taken out are "Putting people first" and go on to say the following about Google:

Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like "transparency," "simplicity" and "consistency," are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between anything you search, sen, say or stream while using one of their services.

But, the way they're doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.

To be clear, there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve the quality of an advertising product. But, that effort needs to be balanced with continuing to meet the needs and interests of users. Every business finds its own balance and attracts users who share those priorities. Google's new changes have upset that balance, with users' priorities being de-prioritized. That's why people are concerned and looking for alternatives.

If these changes rub you the wrong way, please consider using our portfolio of award-winning products and services.

This is straight up political theater, folks. Never mind that if Microsoft was in the search/advertising business, it'd be doing (if it was smart) exactly the same thing. But it's not. It's in the software licensing (and/or litigating, depending on who you ask) business. And Google continues to repeat that it's not collecting any new data with this new privacy policy, nor is it selling your data.

We're really not going to tell you what to think here. Read Google's responses from today. Go back and read its responses to Congress. And then read Google's new privacy policy, which is only a month away from taking effect. Then decide just how worried you are.