Google recently announced it was unifying its privacy policies and would be sharing the data it collects about users between all of its products, starting March 1st. That means your web searches and sites you visit will be combined with other Google products like Google Plus and YouTube. If you’d rather avoid that, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us you can remove your Google search history and stop it from being recorded.
Turning off search history is one of the top Google settings you may already know about anyway if you didn’t want Google recording any sensitive searches (health, location, interests, religion, etc.), but with Google becoming more like AOL these days, now’s as good a time as any to check if you’ve got your web history paused or not.
If you’re not logged into Google already, log in. Then, go to https://google.com/history. Click “remove all Web History” and “OK”. Doing so will pause the recording of your searches going forward until you enable it again.
Just one question.
Who reads privacy policies?
You probably don’t. Just like you don’t read the terms and conditions when you download and install software, or sign up for an online email account, or rip the tag off a new mattress.
The 1% of you who do read privacy policies are probably the exact same 1% who are losing sleep because information from your iPhone address book was secretly being uploaded to the servers of Path and some other app makers.
So the Attorney General and the six companies win for looking aware and concerned about online privacy, and the privacy zealots get to rest a little easier before going off on their next crusade. (Probably against Google.)
Plus, apps makers now all have to hire lawyers to write up these privacy policies and interns to put the policies online and build links to them in their apps. Which increases employment!
Wins all around. Well done.
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Starting on March 1, Google will allow itself to share your personal information across Google services, as long as you’re signed in.
Google previously had 60 separate privacy policies for different products. Now, it’s got just one.
Among the changes:
- Google can now look at what you’ve been doing on YouTube, Gmail, and Google+ to suggest search results and “more relevant ads.”
- Google can take information you provide on your Google Profile, including your name and photo, and use it on all your other Google products like Gmail — and can replace past names you used, so you’re the same on all sites.
- Google will collect information from your mobile device, including your phone number, and associate it with your Google Account.
Here’s the most relevant bit pulled from the full policy:
We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.
We may use the name you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email, or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo.
You can compare it against the current version here.
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A Best Buy Manager Thinks That The 3,000 Employees Running Its Customer Service Twitter Account Can’t Be Trusted
Best Buy hasn’t been doing so hot lately, and here’s another example that shows why.
The retailer has a Twitter account @Twelpforce that uses 3,000+ employees to help run it. So far it has worked without a major disaster, despite the exposure it has with so many employees working on it.
But at least one Best Buy manager disagrees, and thinks it’s basically a load of crap, reports Chris Morran at the Consumerist.
Morran received a note from a reader, Jonathan, explaining his experience. Jonathan was trying to exchange a box set of CDs, which was missing one CD when he got it, but didn’t have the receipt. The Best Buy site pointed him toward @Twelpforce, who told him to “Talk to a manager at your local Best Buy, they should be able to assist with exchange.”
He did. When he showed the Best Buy manager the tweet from customer service, he dismissed it as an unreliable source (even though the Best Buy website tells you that the only places to ask questions are a phone number and the Twitter account). The manager also said that it’s “just social media” and “that could be anybody.”
Which begs the question: what’s the point of having a customer service Twitter account if Best Buy managers don’t even acknowledge it as a legitimate source of information? Somebody got company policy wrong here, but whether it’s the manager or the person who answered that tweet doesn’t matter. The manager shouldn’t have dismissed the Twitter help line as useless.
It shows a fundamental disconnect between the brick-and-mortar and the online world. The corporate side has accepted that social media is a viable tool, yet that feeling hasn’t been passed down to its employees — even at the manager level. Oops.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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