Sunday, January 30, 2011

Google is Pissing Me Off...

For years my search engine of choice has been Google, because it is no-frills, simple, fast, and has a supposed mantra of "Don't be evil." Recently, however, I've become disenchanted with it.

First of all is the issue of "Google Neutrality." Lately, no matter what search parameters I use, (exact phrases, advanced search, quotation marks,) the sites that pay Google the most rise to the top of my searches, even if they don't actually contain all the words I'm searching for or are the most relevant. I'm not so bothered by this as I understand Google is a business, just annoyed. However...

The second issue is privacy. I have an Android (Captivate, running Cognition's version of 2.2 as Samsung and AT&T refuse to do right by their customers, but that's a bitch for another day...) I use Dolphin Browser HD because it has a private browsing option that the standard browser doesn't (cleaning out history, cache, forms, passwords and cookies whenever I close it.) Now, you may ask why would I want to do those things? Am I just being paranoid? Well...

No matter what I do, Google Mobile somehow saves my searches.

I have no idea how it does this. I keep background data and sync off unless I'm accessing the Market, and I am not signed in on a Google account. Now - this is where Google gets sneaky, pay attention. Google has it's own preferences, and one of them is remembering your search history. You can turn it off - but as the default is always on - that requires you to KEEP GOOGLE'S COOKIES. Get it? As Google somehow knows how to recognize my phone (for those who don't know, the Android platform is owned by Google) it saves my searches - unless I keep Google's cookies, which means actually giving them permission to track my online doings. Yes, I can manually clear my searches every time I use the Google, but why are they being saved at all? Where are they being saved? At Google central? On my phone? Is there a hidden cache? To make a long story short, as long as I use Google on my Android, there's no way to keep them from collecting information on me. Yes I can use other search engines, but that's not the point. The right to control over my own privacy and transparency over how my information is being stored and collected is.

TTFN
-Tony

2 comments:

String said...

Yep...

Becky said...

Hmm. I have a Droid phone. I never think about going in and manually clearing out my searches and etc. This gives me something to think about.