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Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 1) 223

by swillden (#48895937) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

..except for say, renting the information to "partners" for linking with offline purchases

Google doesn't do that. Rent, sell, donate, whatever. If you have some evidence to the contrary (e.g. public financial filings?), I'd be interested in seeing it. So would the FTC, actually, since AFAICT it would be a violation of Google's consent decree.

or if you switch browsers or somehow the cookie gets removed or you switch to a private browser window

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, unless perhaps you're talking about losing your opt-out cookie? If that's what you mean, Google provides browser extensions that ensure that never happens.

Google doesn't only derive value from the information they gather about you by displaying you targeted online ads.

Yep, pretty much, that's it. Unless you're paying for Google services or buying Google hardware, online advertising is Google's revenue model. If you have some evidence to the contrary, I'd be interested in seeing it.

There are reasons why every ad network offering an 'opt-out' only stop displaying you targeted ads while it is in effect.

Again, I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that if you stop opting out from targeted ads you start seeing targeted ads? That seems pretty obvious to me.

And none of them are for your benefit.

None of what are for my benefit? The ads? If that's what you mean, I beg to differ. Most ads are useless to me, I agree, but it does happen from time to time that I see one that's useful. Even more importantly, those ads are how the sites that I like get funded, so they benefit me very directly.

(In my particular case, Google ads also pay most of my salary. But I felt the same about all of this before I joined Google so I honestly don't think that affects my opinions much.)

Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 1) 223

by swillden (#48895857) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

It's disingenuous to assert that Google doesn't know about the data that is collects, sells it (the http_referrer coin collection), and that the advertiser whose link you clicked doesn't know you, perhaps by name (referring to the fact that the IPv4 address space has largely known destinations to the street address and user-characteristics).

First, I never asserted that Google doesn't know about the data that it collects. That would be to deny a tautology. Second, you seem to be asserting that Google sells the data, which isn't true, as I explained in more detail in my first post in this thread. Third, the advertiser may well know you by name, etc., but not because Google told them anything about you. The fact that your IP may be linked to your identity in various ways is true, but not Google's fault, and Google doesn't participate in spreading information about you.

If you don't want an advertiser to get your IP, I suppose you should avoid clicking on ads.

Slashdot knows who I am. My IP is known. They can be linked. One can become somewhat anonymous on the Internet, but only by trying really, really hard to accomplish this, and it's transient at best-- as accumulated information becomes your dossier.

To the degree that it is cross-referenced, yes. And Google Analytics gives Google perhaps more of this sort of information than any other entity -- unless, of course, you opt out of analytics tracking, in which case Google doesn't track you.

The implications of dossiers are for a different forum, but in this circumstance, this thread, this post, it's my criticism of the pretension within the post, viz: "And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room" means that your devices will be forced to respond to its ambient environment, and what you do, even say, maybe your sexual responses, all of these will become exposed, modesty and your intentions to hide these things, vanquished by environmental probes.

Well, then, don't give your permission. I think that's the key; opt out of the services you find too intrusive. That doesn't completely solve the problem, because of the cross-referencing issue. I think we'll need to deal with that legislatively, to bar companies from cross-referencing the data they have about individuals, and to give individuals access to the information held about them, and the opportunity to request that it be deleted... with, of course, serious consequences for failing to comply with such requests.

Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 1) 223

by swillden (#48892689) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Which exonerates Google..... no.

Google of course, has NO idea that you clicked. Nope, never, nada. /sarcasm.

I'm really not sure what you're on about.

Yes, Google knows you clicked, because they use that to track advertising effectiveness statistics, and, I assume, as a signal that the ad is for something you're interested in. Normally, of course, a web site doesn't know about clicks on links to other sites. When you click a search result or an ad, you're actually hitting a link to Google, which then redirects you to the destination. This is done so that Google knows you clicked. For both search results and ads, that's an important signal to Google that lets them know they ranked results/ads well and showed you what you were looking for.

Yes, the advertiser's web site knows you clicked, just like any web site you visit. Slashdot knows you viewed this article, and posted, and what you posted, etc. If you use a site, the system and therefore its operators know you did.

I don't see what about all of this upsets you, or what you think someone is trying to hide from you.

Comment: Re:Thank fricking God it requires developer mode. (Score 1) 158

by swillden (#48892543) Attached to: Google Just Made It Easier To Run Linux On Your Chromebook

I can't work out if you're joking. I would never want a computer where I couldn't replace the OS with 3 minutes and a screwdriver.

But do you want a computer where someone else can replace your OS with three minutes and a screwdriver without you being able to tell that they did so?

Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 1) 223

by swillden (#48892489) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade
Yes, if you click a link that takes you to the advertiser's site, they know you did so. It's no different than if you typed in their URL, except that they see a referer header from Google, and find out what search terms you used to find them. Google didn't give them any of that information, though, YOU did.

Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 2) 223

by swillden (#48889731) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

You CAN'T opt-out of being tracked.

Yes, you can, at least with Google. Google provides opt-out tools, and they work. I know some of the engineers who work on opt-out and they're quite serious about ensuring that nothing identifiable gets stored about users who present an opt-out cookie. Any team that tried to work around opt out would be in trouble... and would get Google in trouble during its regular FTC privacy audits, pursuant to the consent decree Google signed.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google, but I don't speak for Google. The above represents only my personal opinions.)

Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 1) 223

by swillden (#48889713) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Google gets your permission to vacuum the contents of Gmail, liberate data from your Android phone, and then somehow, removing "personal identifiable information", liberates this data and sells it to others, who reassemble the information.

This is a common misunderstanding of Google's business model. Google doesn't sell information. At least, not very much. I think there are a few minor products that involve selling aggregated, statistical information, but they're an insignificant part of Google's revenue stream. Where Google makes money isn't by selling information about users, it's by using information about users. Google doesn't deliver information to advertisers for them to decide who to advertise to, Google accepts ads from the advertisers and uses the information it has to decide which ones to show to which users. Advertisers don't see the user data and have very little control over the targeting of their ads, which is fine with them because Google is better at the targeting than they are anyway.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google, but I don't speak for Google. The above is all public information.)

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 5, Informative) 783

by swillden (#48878285) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

In fact, there is something nice about a Tesla or Prius's silence at idle

Unless you're blind, or happen to be looking the other way when the drunk in a prius bears down on you.

My Nissan LEAF has a speaker mounted in the driver-side front wheel well which makes noise (a tone that sweeps across the frequency range, to cover people with frequency-limited hearing) whenever the vehicle is moving below 20 mph. It's not fake engine noise, it's better.

As to the article... I have learned to really enjoy the silence of an EV. Engine noise annoys me.

Comment: Re:Well actually, he has a point (Score 1) 296

by Qzukk (#48877899) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

If the argument is that I as a consumer have a right to not have my ISP discriminate against my choice of content providers then where in that argument is the limiting principle that prevents me from forcing the content providers to provide the content on a device of my choosing rather than theirs?

Clearly these are exactly identical situations despite the fact that in the network neutrality argument there is a third party (the ISP) interfering with my choice of content provider, while in your argument there is no ISP interfering in my choice of content provider. The total and complete lack of third-party interference in your case (which is entirely what network neutrality is about) is what makes it different.

Comment: Re:Less creepiness (Score 1) 321

by swillden (#48877499) Attached to: What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

That's true... but why doesn't it apply to Android phones? They're also associated with Google, and also have cameras.

FWIW, I think Google has a big PR problem to solve here. The perception that Google slurps up all information available isn't really correct, either, but it's pretty difficult to convince people of it. The Google dashboard was an attempt to show people what Google actually knows about them but (a) hardly anyone knows about it and (b) most who look at it assume that it's only what Google wants them to know that it knows.

I think in the long run the only solution for Google is to move away from advertising, to a payment-for-services model. That won't happen with much of the existing service suite, but advertising can be de-emphasized by growing in other directions.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- The Wizard Of Oz