Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Google Android & Your Data

Eric Schmidt (Chairman of Google) has recently tried to allay fears that Google Android devices are accumulating our location data and backing it up to storage devices. He says that, 'Google is on the side of the consumer'.

Of course, Google would claim that we opt into such features. Note that whenever an Android App asks you to switch on your location indicator, such information is being relayed back to Google's servers and is stored - allegedly.

Microsoft have made great play on this - almost to the point of slander. But the reality is that they are not far wrong. Google claims that by storing and using such location data that it can produce 'Better targeted search'.

That phrase is in fact a euphemism for 'Making more money' - that is selling highly specific target information such as user location to advertisers so that they can more accurately tailor an advert to us and therefore increase their chances of a hit and possible sale.

As an example, just this morning I received adverts from Zoopla for postcodes near where I was sitting, not my home address. That's highly specific and very much dependent on my current location.

It is noticeable that Google tries to hide the fact that it will 'sell' the location information to advertisers and not a penny of that increase in revenue comes back to us as individuals. Perhaps, if Google wants to use this data in the future, we should charge them for every time they sell it or get a cut in the advertising revenue. After all, we are becoming the moving billboards upon which they can mount their adverts to woo us.

Google, as we are becoming aware, are not the nerdy, friendly cool guys we once thought they were. Their revenue figures and profitability are simply astounding. They are a fantastic money machine and we are the ones who make it happen.

We are all stakeholders in the Google phenomenon. Perhaps we should rise up and ask for our share of the money they are making out of us?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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