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Sundar Pichai explains why you should trust Google with your data

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Sundar Pichai explains why you should trust Google with your data
It's about time someone from Google came out and did this, because there is a constant push back from users about privacy and the amount of data that Google collects on its users (not to mention the somewhat misleading attack campaign from Microsoft). We've talked before about the idea of the personal data trade, but today Sundar Pichai clearly and succinctly explained exactly why you should trust Google with your data.

Walt Mossberg mentioned the amount of data that is being collected in order to power products like Google Now, and asked why he shouldn't be nervous about what Google does. Pichai responded:
It’s a good and important question. When we build cloud services, I think it’s a huge responsibility we have when we run cloud services because there’s a lot of data.

There are three things we have to do. First, we have to give a lot of value to you. So when you walk into an airport and Google Now gives you your boarding pass, that’s great. Second, having transparency and giving users control. Walt talked about Amazon — these are open systems, and the switching costs aren’t very high. We only get to do what we do as long as we do right by users. Third, people have a choice.
If that sounds familiar, it may be because those are similar arguments to what we've made before, but it's good to have someone from Google address the topic. Privacy is a concern, but what many people don't realize is that if Google loses the public's trust, the entire business could collapse. If Google can't protect user data, users stop feeding the system, and Google's services and main revenue stream (advertising) rely on that data. 

source: AllThingsD

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posted on 30 May 2013, 17:13 1

1. Gawain (Posts: 420; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)

It is not that I mistrust Google with my data, it is that Google does not give the user any choice if there is a problem. When a computer sniffer senses something wrong and the account with "my" data gets locked, Google makes all the rules. Other providers are in the same boat, but their image projects a different motive.

posted on 30 May 2013, 17:30 13

2. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

So, you would rather Google wait until your data is compromised before locking the account?

I can understand that it's annoying when your account gets locked, but your annoyance there should be with the person or service that tried to access your account inappropriately, not with the fact that Google worked to protect your data.

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:05 3

20. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

Michael, you are not making sense. Google has being fined, as in monetary damages, for violating privacy around the world.

Their motto of "don't be evil" is simply BULLSPIT!

posted on 30 May 2013, 20:30 4

28. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Fines for what? For the Street View car catching waves from open WiFi points? Just because people are scared of Google and overreact. The only major privacy problem was when Buzz launched. That was a screw up by Google. I haven't heard any other compelling problems.

posted on 30 May 2013, 23:25 1

44. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

Michael, you are playing games or have had your head in the sand.

Come on, now! The FTC gave Google a record fine over privacy concerns. See linkhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/ftc-google-fine-safari-privacy-violation_n_1760281.html

posted on 31 May 2013, 10:31

50. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Admittedly, I had forgotten about that case. But, at the same time, the fine was more due to the FTC mischaracterizing the issue rather than any harm done by Google.

Google shouldn't have been bypassing the default (and annoyingly strict) Safari settings (using a loophole that Google itself patched, and submitted back to WebKit but Apple refused to adopt.) But, no one was ever "tracked" by Google, it was simply to make +1 buttons work.


posted on 31 May 2013, 10:09

49. madpiyal (Posts: 108; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)

You are spot on my friend. Their motto'" Don't be Evil" is an absolute Bull-crap. There is no company in this human world trades more money for some others private information than Google. Mr Michel is as everyone knows is a bit of Google fan. But lets just show you guys how trustworthy is Your beloved Google is. Just search "GOOGLES PRIVACY SECURITY PROBLEMS"' both in BING and GOOGLE. The search outcome will astonish you. Go do it yourself if you don't believe me, I hope you will believe your own eyes.

posted on 30 May 2013, 21:06 1

36. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 13018; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)

I would rather Google gave user's choices since that is a ton of data they have on people. I don't know if you know it or not but Google knows more about you than you probably know about yourself Michael.

The fact that Google is a multibillion dollar company with a huge reach disturbs me with how much data they have of users.

And then they release Google Glasses? Do you realize how much potential there is for invasion of privacy with the Google Glasses?

A company that big I do not trust with my data and that would hold true for any company.

posted on 30 May 2013, 21:20 7

37. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Google does give choices. Don't stay logged in to your account and Google can't get any more data from you than any other site. You can opt out of ad targeting. Or you can not use Google all-together.

Saying you wish there was a choice means that you really want to use Google, because Google makes good services, but you think you're entitled to get those services completely free.

posted on 30 May 2013, 21:24 1

38. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 13018; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)

I never said anything about entitled to get those services for free. I'm only saying that Google shouldn't have that much data about users and I just don't trust them with having all of that data. That's precisely why I refuse to open a G+ account because of all the concerns about privacy. Google has far too much leeway in what they do without users' consent.

Google can still track and use your data even if you aren't logged in.

I'm not knocking them as a service, only some of their questionable policies.

posted on 31 May 2013, 08:56

46. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

As always, can you please give more details in as far as the "too much leeway"? Also, can you give more details on why you don't trust Google?

I keep asking others to answer questions like this, but everyone seems to think that "I just don't trust them" is a valid answer.

posted on 30 May 2013, 22:29 2

42. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

You know I could says the same thing about trusting the company you like the most?

posted on 30 May 2013, 17:31 2

3. shahulvm (Posts: 124; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)

Thumbs down or up, this is the fact...

You trust google with your data and they make money out of it :)

It is like give your soul to me and then you need to go my way always :(

posted on 30 May 2013, 17:50 10

6. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's not true. I can pull my data out of Google anytime I want and move to another service.

Besides, if I'm going to give you my soul, you best be offering a lot of value in return.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:12 3

8. Hemlocke (unregistered)

That is true, but the logic amounts to "If I have my hand in a crocodile's mouth, I can pull it back at any time." You may pull back, but the damage is still done, and you are now known as "Lefty" without the great golf game. Google Takeout is a placebo, and it doesn't matter if you take your data out, Google still keeps it, and you know they do. Try wiping your Google tracks, and then using Google services, or the web after visiting Google. Nothing changes.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:25 8

10. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's just a fearmongering analogy. A croc has no incentive to not bite your hand off, it's just animal instinct. Besides which, even if you are right and Google decides to screw us all over, what exactly do I lose from this scenario? Anyone who wants to can already find out who I am and where I live. Do I really care if they know that I like video games, basketball, and occasionally listen to Rihanna?

I'm being advertised to all the time anyway. What am I losing by allowing that advertising to be more tailored to things I may actually want to buy?

Of course, that all leads back to the same question (and one that no one who mistrusts Google has been able to answer). What incentive does Google have to screw you over and misuse your data? Just because it's possible that Google will screw you doesn't make it likely, or even logical that it would.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:33 1

12. AnTuTu (Posts: 1580; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)

Its not a matter of just you "Michael" there are other people on this earth as well who don't even want to share that kind of info :)

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:51 2

16. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

Then just don't O_O that's a simple answer

posted on 31 May 2013, 08:57

47. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I fully understand that there are others who don't want to share that info. My issue is that I've yet to have one of those people give me a compelling reason as to why they don't want to share it, and why they think Google is untrustworthy.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:36 2

13. Hemlocke (unregistered)

Regardless of your cavalier attitude toward it, privacy is not some outdated concept. There are those who must maintain a semblance of it, because of the work they do, as well as others who do not believe it is a worthy trade for some decent mapping solution and a search engine.

The problem lies in Google's success, wherein anyone contemplating competition, minus the actual hardware companies, must, out of necessity, employ the same tactics in order to thrive. I just choose to trust the companies to whom I am a customer, not a product.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:53 1

17. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

And these companies are?

If you have free search, if you have a free social network, if you have free storage, if you have free email YOU ARE A PRODUCT

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:04

19. Hemlocke (unregistered)

Apple, Blackberry, and Mozilla, to name a few. I use Tor, as well.

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:10 2

22. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

"In 2006 the Mozilla Corporation generated 66.8 million dollars in revenue and 19.8 million in expenses, with 85% of that revenue coming from Google for "assigning [Google] as the browser's default search engine, and for click-throughs on ads placed on the ensuing search results pages."

Does apple offer 100℅ free email services? Does Blackberry does the same?

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:39

26. Hemlocke (unregistered)

No, you have to buy their products, hence the "business-customer" relationship. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

As for Mozilla, that is disturbing, but no ads are being served while I am using their browser with Tor.

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:53 4

27. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Have you checked out Apple's privacy policy? It's very interesting. Especially the part about possibly needing you SSN... What?!? Just as scary as Google's IMO.

And if I recall correctly, you can't even set up an iTunes account without entering a credit card. Of course if you bought an iTunes card BEFORE your iDevice, then your all good. The point is, we're ALL for sale. You just may not know it.

posted on 30 May 2013, 20:46 1

32. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

he also forgot this


posted on 30 May 2013, 20:36 2

29. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Privacy definitely isn't outdated. Privacy is a very modern concept, and never really existed the way we think of it until fairly recently.

But, privacy isn't an answer to my question. I haven't heard a compelling reason why privacy is important, nor have I heard a reason for what incentive Google has to mistreat your data.

As per your last point, I would argue that you are far more a customer to Google than most other companies. You're not a customer to any hardware company, you're just a product (money). With Google there is a continuous relationship. You give a bit to Google and Google gives back. If it doesn't give back, or asks too much. You can leave.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:41

14. papss (unregistered)

Michael to say there's no incentive is just being blind.. The whole damn industry is driven by money and selling your, mine, everyone's data would garner the same outcome.. To make money

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:02 3

18. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

I think people have the wrong idea of how Google's business work and why they are successful, Google does not sell your data, your data is more valuable to them that its not worth taking about giving it away

Google business with your data is for statistics and I'll tell you how it works

You make a YouTube account and you like pop music and cars, Google piles you with the people who likes pop music and with the people who like cars and go to company A and Company B and tells them I have 100 people who like pop and 100 people who like cars IF YOU PAY ME I'll put ads on their content related to your new car offer or your new pop band, and its why you see ads in YouTube targeting your interest, but its still Google doing it not company A or B and this is why data is valuable to Google for them to sell it, if company C comes they again bid on a spot to get inside the YouTube adds targeted to a certain public

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:08 1

21. Hemlocke (unregistered)

Go download "Collusion" for Firefox, and then tell me they keep your data away from the ad companies.

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:16

23. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

I'll check the app out

posted on 30 May 2013, 20:38 1

30. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Okay, Google screws you, you don't give as much data, and Google can't make as much from you. So, how does Google make more money by screwing you over?

posted on 30 May 2013, 20:56

34. papss (unregistered)

That's a great point actually. I'm not saying I will never have an android ( I have an unhealthy obsession with the N4) and have had many before but for right now I choose WP8 and no google support doesn't really matter to me as I don't use their software right now.

posted on 30 May 2013, 21:03

35. Hemlocke (unregistered)

The conversation has changed, at this point. While I am far from being a tech neophyte, my attitude is a reflection of older generations. I think that many, far too many, just don't care, or they have become too dependent to care whether they do or not .

It is obvious you read your own articles here, so you see the humanization of Google, and other tech firms, by younger tech enthusiasts. Part and parcel of that process is the defense of these companies when loyal users think the companies have been "wronged" by courts or governments. Go back and look at fines and judgments levied against Google, and you don't see a preponderance of outrage at Google for "acciddntally" abridging rights, you see anger directed at whomever is punishing Google.

I am willing to admit my attitude is extreme, within the tech community, but surely you can also concede that Google has not been the most upright steward of privacy.

BTW, I have owned more than 30 Android phones. My attitude has evolved as a result.

posted on 30 May 2013, 21:25 1

39. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Google screwed up with the Buzz launch. Other than that, I don't know of anything Google has done that has been all that bad. I'd say Google is one of the best companies in terms of privacy.

posted on 30 May 2013, 22:09

41. Hemlocke (unregistered)

They collected a lot more than WiFi location and street image data with Street View, said they didn't know they had collected so much data, and were fined for it. That was just stupid or careless. What was actually bad was that they were required to purge that data, said they did, but did not, and were fined again. Not exactly the behavior of a trustworthy organization.

posted on 30 May 2013, 22:37 2

43. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

Not that I don't want to believe you but can you please hand the source?

posted on 31 May 2013, 05:09

45. Hemlocke (unregistered)

Sure, there are quite a few, but it was a big deal last summer:

posted on 31 May 2013, 09:05 1

48. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Everyone points to the WiFi case as if it were a smoking gun, but it isn't. Inadvertently or not, Google only collected data from WiFi access points that were OPEN and had no password protection. Anyone could have done the exact same thing and you would never know about it because they don't have the visibility and oversight of Google. Google found out it happened, fixed the issue, destroyed the data (unusable as it was anyway, because it was maybe a packet or two from each open point), and took the penalty that various places dolled out.

Additionally, every single one of those people with open WiFi points (not to mention all of them with password locked WiFi) are being tracked every single day, on every site they visit, regardless of privacy settings, by their ISPs without consent.

posted on 30 May 2013, 17:43 1

4. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

Google provides great and free service s that's why I'm with them

posted on 30 May 2013, 17:48

5. meowcenary (Posts: 187; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

I don't trust anyone with my data, however we are unfortunately slaved to those that mines our data/store it for our auxiliary storage device. About the only thing I use google for is for junk email and the rest of my own domains email accoutns are for business. As for the cloud, it's only good for backing up my photos.

posted on 30 May 2013, 17:59 4

7. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

"Slave" implies a lack of choice. Given your setup, I would argue that no one is "slaved" to these services. We get value from them, so we use them. If we don't find the trade worth it (as you clearly don't), then we have the choice to not participate.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:19 2

9. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

Then don't use Google or iPhone better yet don't bother buying a smart phone PERIPD. How hard is that?

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:32

11. papss (unregistered)

I'm happy to say I've backed away from everything Google related.. To say they don't still have my data from past use is a very silly.

posted on 30 May 2013, 18:45 2

15. Hemlocke (unregistered)

Correct. Takeout is a "feel good" tactic, just as it is with Facebook. Your data doesn't magically disappear from their servers when you complete the transaction. Couple that with the many lawsuits to which Google has been a defendant for less than ethical tactics (war driving in the name of mapping, circumventing default cookie blocking on Safari, rigging search results to punish competitors), and you have a company that is like the majority of politicians, only keeping their hands in their own pockets when it is freezing.

posted on 30 May 2013, 20:45 1

31. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Google Takeout isn't a tool designed for data deletion, just downloading your data. However, if you do delete your data from Google (and you can delete just about everything, including your search history), Google does not and cannot keep that data.

There are varying time periods for how long things are kept:http://blog.tech-and-law.com/2010/11/google-data-retention-periods-for.html

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:27 2

24. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

Google: "Trust us with your data, because based on your personal profile, we don't think you care too much, and you like our services."

Kidding, of course. I use Google because their unpaid services are, in my eyes, worth the bit of data they get about me. As far as security goes, I have to trust them for the reasons the exec mentioned. If Google leaks data, people leave, and Google loses profits. It's in Google's interest to keep data protected.
The only issue I really have is that it's a one-stop shop for the government to take data. The government's services already take money; follow the Constitution if you want information about me. (This isn't Google's problem, but at the very least, they're the most transparent about government requests around.)

posted on 30 May 2013, 19:34 3

25. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

What a lot of people don't even realize is that our data has been up for sale loooooong before Google started profiting from it. Every time you swipe you credit, debit or even your preferred customer cards you're generating data for that store to sell to the highest bidder. And just about EVERY COMPANY DOES IT... yes, your favorite company does too.

So of course they want us to trust them with our data, they profit from it. The difference is, they tell you upfront where as most companies keep it a secret. They even show you how they're using it. I can't recall Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Walmart, Target, or any other company being upfront about the fact that they're selling my data. So for that alone I'll give Goole the benefit of doubt... until they screw up!

posted on 30 May 2013, 20:49 3

33. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

It is maddening that people have no problem with "customer loyalty cards" (which lead to junk mail) but go crazy about Google knowing you like cheese (which gets you better information about cheese, that thing you like). Or how about the fact that your ISP and wireless carrier are also gathering all the same data, but without your expressed permission.

Or how okay people are with a newspaper, magazine, or TV channel being ad-supported, but once a company is open about what it is doing, and exactly how it is going to do better, they go nuts.

posted on 30 May 2013, 22:08

40. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

They'll see it when the corporate-government takes over...
What, am I the only nerd here watching Continuum??? Maybe. :/

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 07:21 1

52. jroc74 (Posts: 6005; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Exactly. I somehow got paper catalogs for LL Bean, Ikea and Fingerhut over the past few years. I never shopped at these places before or asked for those catalogs. I did sign up for game magazines from Game Stop.....so maybe it came from that....

I dont think I got them for using Google. It didnt happen until I started shopping more online at places like Amazon, Newegg, Tiger Direct, Walmart, eBay..Circuit City when they had stores.

I remember trying to shop at JC Penny's and Macy's stores and they wanted info like address and/or phone number at checkout.... Radio Shack too. I assume if you would ask why they need it they would tell you....but an explanation is never offered by the cashier.

Now...where is hate towards these companies.....

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 07:06

51. jroc74 (Posts: 6005; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I just posted in the new article that came as a result of this one. I wont re-post everything word for word...

What about Microsoft and Windows & Xbox Live? What about Sony and PSN?

Xbox Live and PSN both got hacked...very personal info got breached, ppl lost money from credit cards...(I think the PSN hack was more known than the Xbox Live one gotta read up on the Xbox Live hack more...)

Windows is known or has been known to phone home to MS for whatever reasons.

How do we know when we send error reports from software crashes from ANY company what info is sent?

Now....why is so much hate lobbed at Google....but MS and Sony seem to be angels in privacy issues? MS has for years been a hackers playground....and no one seems to care about that...

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