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back to article Google auto-links YouTube, Google accounts

As part of its ongoing effort to track everything you do on the web, Google is now forcing those who sign up for YouTube accounts to embrace a Google account as well. "Signing up for YouTube means signing up for a Google Account that gives you access to YouTube, as well as other Google services such as iGoogle, Reader, and Docs …

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Unhappy

Why the constant google hate?

When every other big organisation with multiple websites does the EXACT same thing with their log-in ID's.

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Dead Vulture

So...

How is this not just a helping hand?

You failed to explain.

Also, insisting on referring to Google as the "Mountain View Chocolate Factory" is just childish.

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Stop

So what?

Nothing stopping you from having a Google account that you don't use for anything other than YouTube is there?

Or do Google somehow link multiple accounts together? They can't assume all Google accounts which access from the same computer (never mind the same IP address) belong to the same person.

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Happy

adblock ?

Got several gmail accounts in various names, likewise for youtube, where my name is already taken :(

Very rarely see the adverts that google sends me as adblock stops them and if new ones pop thru, they can get blocked as well :)

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Not bothered...

Doesn't bother me, as I choose to use all these free services from Google, but as well as password integration, how about integration of other features, for example insight data into Picasa. In fact, its Picasa that needs integration with Google...

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Dead Vulture

@Michael Sheils and Rik Hemsley

I guess you guys haven't read a Cade Metz article before...

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Flame

"more interesting"

Thats what Phorm said too. Our browsing experience will be "enhanced" because we'll get bombarded with "targetted" and "interesting" adverts.

Horse-hooey. When I want to buy stuff, I go shopping, I don't randomly open browser pages hoping to see an interesting advert. A business model built around that moronic idea is, well, moronic.

And I certainly don't want my screen filled with adverts based on how my shared broadband connection is used by my kids, or my google account is used to mailshot fellow allotment holders about the town council's latest shenanigans.....

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Google is already watching you watch YouTube

For many months now, any YouTube video that you view anywhere on the web, even if it's on Obama's site, phones home to google.com with a GET request that shows the page that the YouTube video was on, and the ID of the video you are watching. It happens several seconds into the video, and the phone home is done by YouTube's Flash code. While at google.com, your browser offers up your Google cookie with the globally-unique ID. Google adds a date and time stamp, and your IP address.

So you may as well combine your accounts, because then you won't forget that Google is watching you watch YouTube. And you won't have to fire up your packet sniffer to discover this.

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Flame

That's not all

As with YouTube, I always try to make sure I log out of my Gmail account before using the Google Search facility, so that yet more linked & unnecessary data about me isn't gathered & stored.

But until the other day, I hadn't realised that if I happened to have a logged-in Gmail window open while in another browser window I was performing a Google Map search, then that data was also being linked & logged. When I recently explored some of the additional facilities hidden in Google Maps, I discovered a log of all the map searches I had made for the past year! This is despite the fact that I clear my internet cache of cookies & all other data daily, so the log could only have been made by Google through use of my Gmail account & it being open at the times the searches were made. I had liked leaving my Gmail logged-in so that I can keep checking my Inbox, but I guess that will have to stop now & I'll have to start using a separate email client again.

So OK, the hidden log facility could be useful on occasion, should I wish to perform an old map search without retyping the details. And OK, I have the ability to now delete the log (now that I know about it) so that it can't be viewed on my computer any more (though whether it ever gets deleted from Google's own database is another matter). But what really annoys me is that until now, I had never been made aware that this had been going on. It is not made clear or obvious either on their Map or their Gmail site. I'm sure that it is in their small print somewhere, but that simply isn't good enough. Especially since I have all their other privacy options selected ("Always use https", "switch off Web History" etc). I'm willing to bet the average Gmail user is totally unaware of all the data that is being gathered & stored about them by Google.

And to all the commenters here saying "why does this matter?" Well it matters because, even if you trust Google not to abuse the data they hold on you, data has a bad & regular habit of leaking. Once that happens & it falls into someone else's hands, the potential for what they might do with it, or how they might even use it against you, is limited only by their imagination.

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Happy

Just a bit of paranoia

Google is one company who has consistently been very good with user data.

Sure they could change that, but until they do their free services are well worth them gaining a tiny amount of information about me.

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Silver badge

The price that is to pay

I am in two minds about Google's data grab. On the one hand, it does seem frightening that some anonymous bods at Google know me and my interests as well as, if not better than, my closest personal friends. From tracking my site activities as well as my YouTube visits, Google know all about my programming and graphics design interests, what languages I program in, what 3D modelling and image processing software I use, what my political leanings are, and even what my sexual fetishes are. That, on its face, is scary.

That information could be used to build a psych profile on me that could easily be used to exploit my weaknesses (which is almost certainly the intent behind "targeted advertising") or frame or blackmail me, among other things. The targeted advertsing bit concerns me the most: the advertising industry has spent decades working out ways of bypassing people's conscious decision-making processes to trigger that all-important emotional response that leads to the impulse buy. How much more effective will these mind-bending scumbags be if they can access a detailed individual psych profile they can use to trip me up at every turn? My self-defensive response of course has been to adopt an immitigable hostility to all advertising, no matter how appealing, refusing to buy any product promoted at me in case the advert is trying to exploit my subconscious, and doing my own research when I'm actually in the market to buy something. AdBlock and NoScript are a great asset in this regard.

On the other hand, the retention of data Google is famous for has served me well more than once. I've lost count of the number of times I've wanted to return to a site I visited months ago but forgot to bookmark; just go to my iGoogle search history and look it up. That ability alone has allowed me to win many "I saw it on the internet" type arguments with friends and colleagues when they offer the stock response "OK then, show us the site!" Not to mention the ability to go back and see what I searched for on a specific date 3 or 4 years ago, long after I'd forgotten. A trip down your personal Google memory lane can be a very enlightening experience, as it shows you just how much of your life you DON'T remember.

Like all things, the service comes at a price, however free it may seem. It is important to remember that you are just one of hundreds of millions of Google users and the likelihood of anyone taking a personal interest in your Google activities is slim - unless your search history contains a lot of stuff like "loli", "pre-teen", "schoolgirls" and such; then you'd have a problem! The greatest danger facing most of us from all this is the psych-exploitative advertising, as mentioned above, and that can be mitigated with a well-placed ad blocker. In the end, it comes down to balancing how much use you have for the service against how much you want the service provider to know about you.

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Anonymous Coward

Edit the info

I saw on a BBC news item that there is a Google page that lets you manage your data (search history, interests etc). Helpfully they did not give the URI, and I am buggered if I can find it. Anyone know what it is?

I go to some lengths to try and block Google from tracking me (block all their scripts, adverts, denying cookies etc). Probably pointless as I have a gmail account; but I can always close that and go back to a paid-for service (although the SPAM was intolerable).

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"I go to some lengths to try and block Google from tracking me"

The answer's simple - if you don't want Google tracking how you use Google services, don't use them. Oh, and fool yourself into thinking that every other significant web service doesn't do exactly the same thing.

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