Can someone explain why people don't trust Google?
0. phoneArena 31 May 2013, 23:11 posted on
Yesterday, Android chief Sundar Pichai laid out his reasoning as to why people should trust Google with their data, and that spurred on an extremely entertaining discussion in the comment thread about Google and the privacy concerns around the company. The trouble is that throughout the debate, we never got a compelling argument as to why people don't trust Google...
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12. james004 (limited) (Posts: 410; Member since: 15 May 2013)
because they are offer advertisers to use their site people think their data is being send to those advertiser. google clearly says it does not do that.
if there is someone you should worry about stealing your data it is ..... your credit card companies. they see where you waste money and they sell that info for millions.
its simple dont keep your original data such as address and real name online. no fear. and dont use cloud for document and photo storage.
24. SuperNexus (Posts: 111; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)
I also trust Google. For me Google is most trusted company. I never faced any privacy problem.
I think people who don't trust Google must have some trust issue or whatever.
and Some are Microsoft fan boys who trust Bing.(You know Microsoft Advertising strategy-----always compare their product with competitors)
44. the_best (Posts: 129; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
This is just a fluff piece, collecting data from people should be illigale, in fact it is illigale in sweden if you keep the data for more than a month.
Its my life i dont want them to tell me what i need to buy!
To be able to keep track of us, the consumers, thats the cornerstone in their intire business model.
We all know how ads works, its not that we se something and IF we like it we buy it.
The reality is that when we see something over and over again we start to think that we need it.
Theres nothing more irritating than when im on youtube and whatever i search for theres allways the same content showing up. even if i was super intrested in swedish comedians one slow october night last year, it doesnt mean i would like to watch the them all day long, every day!
69. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Okay, but could you explain WHY collecting data should be illegal?
I can understand why it should be illegal to buy personal data like junk mailers do. I can even understand why it should be illegal for ISPs to collect all of your web traffic data without your consent. I don't understand what should be illegal about how Google does it.
80. the_best (Posts: 129; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
First of all, im saying that where im from, IT IS ILLEGAL
to collect and keep data on private perons.
And there are many resons why, but the main one is that it enables companies to manipulate us to buy their products.
There are other such as, our private life becomes public in a company that doesent care about the common peoples rights, it only cares about one thing, and that is PROFIT.
Example of what can happens, if the some highright wing extremist group doesnt like when young women abort their babies, they can buy the rights from google of the top 10 search results for whenever a woman in the ages 10 - 25 searches for "abortion". these pages can say whatever they want, such as "women cant get pregnant after being raped" or "abortion is murder, and you will burn in hell if you do get one".
Does this sound like good thing?
83. Suo.Eno (Posts: 72; Member since: 17 Feb 2013)
No that's not a good thing but you're being a bit way out of your tree there. I don't think that even in a capitalistic nature would Google allow that sort of thing to happen AND it would take a very very top shelf high bunch of right wing extremists to be able to achieve that.
86. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
That doesn't sound like a good thing, but it's also not going to happen. Google expressly says it will not sell your info. The nightmare scenario you describe could happen without any help from Google. Laws should focus on the act, not the technology.
I guess my question is: why do we revere this "private life" so much? Aside from examples that you say where the information can put you in physical danger, most information that people try to protect as "private" is nothing more than something they find embarrassing, but if they were public about it, they would likely find many people who share the same view.
Just look at all the value we've gotten from social networking in general: support groups, niche interest groups, crowd-sourced everything. There is a ton of value in being public. I just don't really see the value in being private aside from things that could put you in harm's way.
But, to your first point. I understand that it is illegal where you are, but that doesn't answer the question WHY. For example, marijuana is illegal in the US, not because it actually harms people, but because way back in the day, the cotton lobby saw hemp as a threat to its business.
97. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Michael, let's say "the_bests" situation was actually logical, why should that be illegal? As you said, no one forces one to use google's services. So if you don't like the links being "served up", then use bing, or Yahoo, or AOL. There are dozens of other search engines for the picking, so why should one persons opinion on a specific subject matter be illegal? That's a slippery slope IMO. Laws should only exist to protect ones rights from another. There is nothing remotely bad in that comment. It would be no different that some "rich left winger" paying to target libertarians, like myself, with government is good, or higher taxes are good ads. Additionally, the comment above isn't even logical because people would immediately stop using google if they had to put up with that treatment.
104. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
The act of attacking someone is already illegal. The act of stalking someone is also illegal. The act of planning or attempting to attack someone is already illegal. Why do we need to even bring technology into the equation?
Steak knives aren't illegal, just the bad things you do with them. The same principle applies.
113. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
That was my point. I don't believe more laws are necessary in a situation like this. I might have misunderstood your post.
136. TA700 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
It's the same reason why we don't like to be stalked.
166. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
You have no choice when someone is stalking you. You have a choice when it comes to Google and your data.
129. johnbftl (Posts: 160; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)
That is actually not true Michael. A recent study by USC has shown a strong link between smoking marijuana and non-seminomal testicular cancer. As a person who has in his younger years smoked a lot of marijuana, and at the age of 27 was diagnosed with non-seminomal testicular cancer. The US Army also conducted a 30 year study showing a higher rate of lung cancer in people that smoked marijuana than those who smoked cigarettes. UC Davis closely linked it to schizophrenia as well. So yes, it did harm people.
146. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
While you maybe correct about Marijuana's effects on the human body, that doesn't mean there needs to be legislation to prevent one from using xyz drug. The government was never intended to protect us from ourselves(IOW, a nanny state), it was created to protect us from one another. Example, why are there suicide laws? If I, you, or anyone else wants to off themselves, then who are we to punish them if we are able to stop them from doing so? Shouldn't it be a win if we stop them from harming themselves? Next, seatbelt laws, what are their purpose? Helmet laws? If I don't want to wear a helmet, then chances are, the world would have a net + if I die from not doing so. It's called survival of the fittest. Personally, I HATE seatbelts. (Three point harnesses anyway) They are restrictive and uncomfortable and in my experience not helpful. However, 4/5 point harnesses are more than comfortable, and if I had one in my car I would have no problem wearing a seat belt. But I refuse to wear these stupid 3 point harnesses for these reasons. I have also been involved in my fair share of "not at fault" accidents and never once had the seatbelt do anything to help save me that airbags couldn't do to a lesser extent. My point is, these items harm no one but ME. Therefore, it is not the governments place to legislate that I should be forced to wear something for my own safety. Give me liberty or give me death. A smarter man than I, once said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".
167. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
I'm not arguing whether or not marijuana harms people. I'm simply saying that harm had nothing to do with the original impetus for making it illegal. It was originally made illegal because the cotton lobby saw hemp as a threat. The argument of harm came well later.
89. techspace (Posts: 394; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
it should be legal to collect data only if the user wants them to do so.....there are people who may not like to allow someone to collect their data....
some users are not happy with it because they fear that the data could be misused....google may use it for improving the services but you never know what happens tomorrow...you can't predict the future and you can't trust anyone...
you can't trust a private company that exists only to make money
having said that, there are people who don't mind sharing data with google...
different people have different minds, different people think in different ways, so you can't have a single policy for everyone...google should collect data only after taking permission from the user...i don't mind sharing my data with google but you can't expect the same thing from everyone
94. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Wow, it's funny how all of you cry and moan about private companies. When these private companies HAVE NO INCENTIVE, as MH said, to sell your actual data. They just use your data to make their advertising more effective.Yet, as it seems, you are the first to trust the government, and the government has been proven to be extremely nefarious with our data. I'll take google 99 days out of 100 when compared with the US gov. One needs to look no further than the situation within the IRS for examples.
142. techspace (Posts: 394; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
I have already said that I don't mind sharing data with google...I don't say that I trust the government and I don't trust private companies....but I said that because private companies are private companies...the government is something that can't be avoided, but that doesn't mean that it should be mandatory to share your info with private companies...how can you guarantee that the data can't be misused? and even if google doesn't misuse the data someone else may do it...even the powerful American army became a victim of Chinese hackers at times...so I think the best idea is to ask the user before doing anything with their data
93. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
I think it should be illegal for one reason, and ONE reason only. The government can't be trusted. I trust google with my data, but I don't trust the government with it. In light of recent events, and court decisions it would be best to make it illegal for companies to collect data that way the government can't disregard the 4th amendment(both in our right and Google's) and use that data against us for political gain or whatever BS law they want to create at the time.
All that being said, it's not a google problem, it's a POS government problem.
95. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Here is the link I was talking about.
105. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
So put limits on the government's power. Focus the issue where it should be focused.
112. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
While I do agree, the government will never voluntarily give up the power to snoop without our permission. Our congressmen/women, and senators are too stupid/evil to do the publics work. So, IMO, the only way to stop them is to prevent the companies from having access to our data that the government could illegally seize. I'm not one to use the government to prevent a private company from doing something. However, in this case it is out of self interest for protecting the people from an overbearing government. Just my .02.
114. ardent1 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
For the record, I did not have a "debate" with you; instead, I pointed out where you were factually incorrect about Google's "habitual" problems with privacy concerns, i.e. the record fine by FTC.
Separately, you need to reread the Fourth Amendment that gives US citizens et al protection against illegal searches. Some people smarter than us will have to address the 4th amendment within the context of the internet.
My original point to you is that Google is not without sin.
115. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
I never argued that Google was without sin. My argument is that the recorded fine by the FTC isn't the smoking gun you claim it is.
I have no idea how you expect the 4th amendment to apply to Google. You choose to use Google services, and Google is completely open about what it does. Nothing illegal there.
If your issue is with what the government could potentially do with the data that Google has, then your issue is with the government, not Google.
148. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
I think you need to reread the constitution, including the Bill of Rights. Couple that with a rereading of the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation. Not one part of the constitution applies to a non government entity. You CHOOSE TO USE GOOGLE. No one is forcing you to use their services, so if you don't like their tracking policies, then don't use them. The constitution and it's proceeding documents were pertaining to an entity we have very limited control over. Just the same way as your "First Amendment" rights don't apply to phone arena, they have the right as a company that provides a service to you, to filter or delete your comments as they deem fit for *their* website. If you don't like it, then don't use their services.
162. tswsabeer (Posts: 13; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)
Come back to Earth. Can you name one search company that doesn't collect data from you?
Even the big dude Microsoft who runs campaigns against google's actions collects your data!
165. the_best (Posts: 129; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
wow this has realy escalated =P
First of all, i can understand you not trusting the US gov.
Theres a reason why FBI and CIA are more famous than say FSB(current version of KGB).
However you need to start trusting them cus the gov would make your country a hell of lota better if these mega companies like google, apple, microsoft, exxon and so on didnt exist. They are the bad guys, they keep pressing the gov to do their dirty work.
And by the way my erlier point about nightmare scenarios when google sell your information, it is already happening, dont you think that lobbying companies do this regulary?
The problem is that i dont have i choice if i want to live in a modern society, i have to use google. maybe not their mail or their search engine, but they have 100 maybe 1000 other companies who all collect data about us.
Im not saying microsoft is better, im just sayng I f**kING HATE GOOGLE for pushing them selves on me.
91. metalpoet (unregistered)
I trust google, id rather have my gmail for free and see some ads instead of having to pay to have my email, gmail is the noly email system i fully trust. my old aol, hotmail, msn, and yahoo have all been hacked at one point all while my gmail hasnt hacked once so there ya go. I put my full support in google, their not an evil company compared to many others out there like dell with there incredibly annoying ad they put up on phone arena :)
100. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5154; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
I am not so sure about trusting Google as much as I might be concerned about warrantless notices to provide data:http://www.nbcnews.com/technol
Maybe I am old-school, but there is something objectionable about having so much data about me that formerly didn't exist that now exists being accessible without a warrant any more.
130. ViperGTS (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Nov 2011)
Here is a link to exactly why you should NOT trust Google and use them a little as possible
147. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Don't misconstrue this article. This isn't a reason to not trust *google*, as they clearly fought on our behalf. It is more reason to not trust the jackbooted thugs that run our lives though. Like MH said, we do need to target the fed with our hatred. However, sometimes you have to do things out of self preservation you wouldn't otherwise do. If Google isn't allowed to collect our data, there is nothing for the jackbooted thugs to steal. If we had assurances that the government would actually abide by the 4th amendment and not steal our data from a third party, then I would have no problem with google having my data. As they have no reason to harm me with it.
161. ViperGTS (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Nov 2011)
If you have a fast web connection use the TOR BROWSER and avoid the problem altogether
If younger people keep giving up all of there privacy to the growing Goverment because they do not know and understand the outcome and what real privacy is there will be more privacy browser like TOR to use.
102. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 2741; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
I think Michael is subtly referring to me in this article because of comments I said in a previous article.
106. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
If you mean when I said certain people don't back-up their arguments, or adequately explain why when asked a question, you are correct that you are partially referenced there.
118. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 2741; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
Except I did answer your question. You chose not to accept it as an adequate explanation.
I told you why I don't trust Google, they are too big with too much power and leeway. I feel like that's a more than justified reason why someone shouldn't trust them.
Just look at the stories about them manipulating search results and favoring there services over other services like twitter and Facebook. No one is stepping up and saying that breaks antitrust laws and the government gave them a slap on the wrist.
That's reason enough not to trust them.
131. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
I'm not looking for generic answers. I'm looking for details. I want you to take some time and really consider what it is that you don't like.
Just because a company is big doesn't mean it isn't trustworthy. Google has power if it were to choose to exercise it against users, but as I posited, that would be a terrible move for Google, so what exactly is it about the company's power that you don't like? Also, I asked what you meant by Google having too much leeway, but you never answered.
163. tswsabeer (Posts: 13; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)
if all people starts to think like you Google will be out of their business.
And your definition to google can be easily used to define any other companies like Apple or Misrosoft--"they are too big with too much power and leeway."
But you still trust them.
4. threed61 (Posts: 114; Member since: 27 May 2011)
I'm a Windows Phone user and used to visit a WP fansite. During a routine Google rip-a-thon, I too got trashed for saying that I thought they were the most forthcoming of the tech companies about their practices. I still believe that today. I have sometimes wondered how much access individual Google employees have to identifiable data, but haven't checked.
5. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)
I have been quitting lots of Google's services; It's not that i dont trust them but i simply dont like their attitude nowadays. Probably the only products im still using is Chrome browser, Blogger (when i have my own job, since im just a student, i will export my blog to a paid and different host), and their search engine. I have gotten rid of my gmail and most of their related services, and i dont even visit youtube for the past 1 year already.
It may sound im bluffing, but i dont visit youtube anymore (but the reason wasnt about Google itself, but some other issues, like randomly blocking homemade videos claiming it to be copyrighted when it's not). If my friend shows me something i'd take a look, but i never opened youtube voluntarily or click to play embedded videos (including those in this site) for as long as i remember.
26. SuperNexus (Posts: 111; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)
You must like Microsoft attitude who compare Lumia 521 with Galaxy S4
Apple Attitude who always filing court case against their competitors.
40. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)
I just have to believe what i personally experienced and what i saw. Google and especially Youtube screwed with me and a few of my peers big time. Do you still expect me to like them after all this mess?
I just saw the Lumia 521 VS Galaxy S4 post, missed it earlier. Great, i had to hit a youtube video (in order to reply you). I dont see it as an insult towards Galaxy S4 or criticizing a competitor's product. More like reminding some general consumers that how much 750 bucks is and how to get the most out of that amount of money, especially for those who are conscious with their spending. It's not targeted at geeks like us; I'd also want a flagship device, not something like the 521.
43. SuperNexus (Posts: 111; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)
So, you finally visit YouTube.
Well, Its not your fault because Google services are just become the part of our daily life, even though you don't want to use Google services,you still have to use it.
You can't protect yourself from Google services forever.
In my opinion they are the best service provider even though some of you might face some problem.
68. the_best (Posts: 129; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
the problem is that they are the only service, and if there is another competitor, google will ither force them to integrate in the google ecosystem, buy it, sue, or harass them untill they are no more..
Its like in star trek, I will not assimilate and become an android, i will stay free!
111. roscuthiii (Posts: 1658; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
This statement right here... this pretty much negates almost any statement of yours made prior. You know nothing of Google it seems.
No one is forced into integrating with a Google service, it just behooves companies to do so because of their large footprint.
Buy it? Yeah, most (smaller) companies kinda like the idea of being bought out. They are in it for the money and being bought out generally means a large pay day.
And suing and harassing??? Come on, seriously?! Google is probably one of the least litigious tech companies there are, and just how much negative advertising to you see coming from them? Virtually nil.
Your Star Trek, um "witicism", gives it away. Your position is soley based on the fact you're in the not-Android camp.
120. MartyK (Posts: 665; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
How do you figure they are the ONLY services?, You just want a better quality of service like what Google offer.
Google vs Bing/Yahoo
Gmail vs Hotmail-Outlook
Android vs IOS-BB-WP
Youtube vs DailyMotion-Veoh
137. TA700 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
That's the problem Mxyzptlk had tried to point out.
Google is too large to avoid, even if you do not like their policies, you'll end up having to accept it anyway.
6. rahulz (Posts: 116; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)
I understand, ads are their food .i am satisfied with their (google's) services.
when it comes to companies I trust google more than apple,microsoft or any other company.
7. Vorsayo (Posts: 20; Member since: 29 Jan 2012)
Very well reasoned article. I agree it is in Google's best interest to protect you data not disseminate it. Also agree with Michael's argument, you have to choice weather or not to use Google, if your so concerned about Google having your personal information have fun with Bing, Yahoo, Ask, or any of the plethora of other search engines. Oh by the way they all follow Google's lead and collect your personal information.
8. akbar (Posts: 55; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)
I have chosen Google as the company to share my personal data with, as I like the benefits. The only worry I have is that this situation creates a single point of failure - security breaches, government surveillance, etc.
I have disabled the location services but I understand that this is more of my irrational fear than fear from Google itself.
9. Sniggly (Posts: 6400; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Best article you've written in a while, Michael. Bravo.
This is the kind of reasoning I try to get across to the tinfoil hat wearers who'll come in whining about Google's usage of information but will gladly use Facebook or Apple products, which gather information with much less transparency.
Then there are some people who will point to Google's mistakes (and will do the same against other companies, like Motorola) and claim that since they screwed up once, they're absolutely guaranteed to keep screwing up again in the exact same ways. You know who you are.
Basically it comes down to a knee jerk reaction against a successful company, even though that company has demonstrated again and again that they want nothing but to earn and keep our trust.
10. Whateverman (Posts: 3150; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Nice article Michael! The ads get a little frustrating but when you look at all Google offers, it's well worth it.
13. Sniggly (Posts: 6400; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
I just turned Ad Blocker off for the first time in months. While I notice the effect on some sites now, in Gmail (my most used Google service) I really don't notice at all.
19. Whateverman (Posts: 3150; Member since: 17 May 2009)
I'll see if I can find Ad Blocker, because the one I use isn't very effective.
35. Sniggly (Posts: 6400; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
The one I use is Ad Blocker Plus on Firefox.
11. Tsoliades (Posts: 179; Member since: 22 Dec 2012)
If you don't have anything to hide, you shouldn't care either way. I don't care what Google takes from me because of this.