After tomorrow, what people search for, watch, buy and share via any of Google’s dozens of products or sites is potential fodder for Google to target ads, as well as other products and services.
That is, unless users decide to hide their histories as much as possible. Several websites this week posted how to erase Google search history, and social media sharing spread the action steps. The directions urge users to sign into Google, go to www.google.com/history, click “remove all web history” and click “OK.”
This action effectively erases all search history up to this point, and users can also choose to disable their Web search history going forward.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company ostensibly made the change to give users a simplified, more consistent Google experience, but the new policy also means user information is more accessible for the company and its advertisers to mine.
Users are likely unaware of exactly how much information Google has stockpiled about them. Search histories often go back several years, detailing everything a person has typed in Google’s ubiquitous search engine.
The onslaught of Web information this week detailing how to erase and hide search histories and other information hints users are getting more educated about what they agree to when they “sign in” to an online service. In an age when mobile devices give users an instantaneous pipeline for sharing photos, streaming video, playing games, shopping and connecting on social media, online identities increasingly become commodities.
However, by uniting user information under a single sign-on and set of permissions, Google will potentially gain more insight into users’ tastes, preferences and online activities, and in turn could use that information to tailor advertising.
The policy also will allow Google to offer more personalized service to its users and enable users to see offers and products that will appeal to their specific interests, something many consumers value.
Technology companies enter into a delicate balance regarding users’ privacy, and often tread a fine line between pleasing them with personalized services and scaring them off by appearing to follow their every move.
Google and its fellow tech companies will contend with more educated users going forward, as well as increased scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators demanding more transparent privacy policies and disclosure about how they treat user data.
Source : mobiledia.com