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It’s March 1st 2012 and Google’s revised Privacy Policy comes into force. Google privacy director Alma Whitten, who explained the changes in a company blog post, said the company will “treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

Hmm…

Google is taking information from almost all of your Google services – including Gmail, Picasa, YouTube and search – and integrating the data so that they can learn more about you.

Your Google Calendar appointments, location data, search preferences, contacts, personal habits based on Gmail chatter, device information and search queries, to name a few. Google Books, Google Wallet and Google Chrome will retain their own additional policies, partly for legal reasons, but Google could still integrate data from these services.

The upshot of this could be, in true “Minority Report” fashion, that adverts displayed to you on a Google owned site will be based on your behaviour, preferences and interests as expressed on other Google sites. Google will follow you around like a pestering personal assistant cum stalking salesman, armed with a record of your interests, preferences and intentions, telling you what it thinks you want to know and pushing sales brochures in your face.

Some Examples from Google itself

Google will be able to “provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what traffic is like that day.”

Google will be able to “ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before.”

How to avoid being Googleized

There are strategies to help avoid this. Jack Schofield in the Guardian describes several, but you need to be determined and IT savvy to do some of them.

Unfortunately Google is so integrated into our lives (my business model includes Calendar, Analytics, YouTube, Webmaster Tools and searching) that we can’t simply jump ship. However we can do something – change our Search Engine.

Duck Duck Go LogoDuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo has one full-time employee and has come up with one of the most appealing Google alternatives to date. It doesn’t involve e-mail, maps, real-time results or social networking. It’s just a simple, straightforward search engine that’s reminiscent of early Google, with a no-nonsense privacy policy (it will not store any information that could tie you to your searches). Best of all, the results are dependably relevant and devoid of spam.

DuckDuckGo promises Web searchers that it will not collect, store, or share personal information, and it goes to great lengths to back up those promises. Read their privacy policy for details.

Have a go me Duck! (A Leicester expression). You’ve nothing to lose any may gain a bit of anonymity.

 

 

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