Caveat ēmptor Using Google Applications

Om Malik wrote an interesting post Will you use Google Apps? on Web Worker Daily.

My answer to this – I will use Google Applications on a personal level, but not a business level. The reason, Google’s privacy policy. From their privacy policy:

Uses

  • We may use personal information to provide the services you’ve requested, including services that display customized content and advertising.
  • We may also use personal information for auditing, research and analysis to operate and improve Google technologies and services.
  • We may share aggregated non-personal information with third parties outside of Google.
  • When we use third parties to assist us in processing your personal information, we require that they comply with our Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.
  • We may also share information with third parties in limited circumstances, including when complying with legal process, preventing fraud or imminent harm, and ensuring the security of our network and services.
  • Google processes personal information on our servers in the United States of America and in other countries. In some cases, we process personal information on a server outside your own country.
  • Read more in the full privacy policy.

Emphasis is mine.

If you are working for a business that works with cutting edge technologies are you really going to trust your data to a company that blatantly states they will crawl and index your data?

I do use Google Reader to aggregate my feeds, and I have been known to use Google Notebook – but I would not use any of these applications for work. I don’t have a problem with a company using these applications, I think they are good solid applications, I just think it is important to understand the ramifications of using these types of products.

If you are going to use Google Applications then I say caveat ēmptor, let the buyer beware.

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2 Responses to “Caveat ēmptor Using Google Applications”

  1. Greg Balanko-Dickson Says:

    Well said Thomas, I could not agree with you more.

    It is kind of creepy that Google states that so openly and yet how many people read privacy policies and terms of use? I know I do.

  2. Thomas Says:

    Greg – People don’t really read Terms Of Service agreements which reminds me of the TiVo fiasco. After Janet Jackson’s nipple was shown during Super Bowl half time, TiVo said that was the most rewound event. The public was stunned, how do they know what I am reviewing and forwarding through – because the TOS said they would.

    People don’t seem to notice until they get burned, or something brings it to their attention. This is interesting as Google was just blasted a while back by a report that mentioned their privacy practice was graded Hostile to Privacy. I am not sure of the bias of the report, but it caused quite a stir for a couple of weeks, and then the noise just went away.


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