Feeds

back to article EPIC asks FTC to probe Google's search biz tweak

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), as expected, has now written to the US Federal Trade Commission requesting that the watchdog investigates Google's search business. The move follows Mountain View's decision to merge personal data collected via its social network Google+ with the company's search engine, which so …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

It's worth remembering...

That Google doled out some cash to EPIC.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/03/google_settlement_rewards_privacy_groups_wtf/

So expect EPIC to push this issue really, really hard. Or not.

0
0

I am trying to understand this....

My search results will only show my circles information if I am logged into my Google account prior to entering the search phrase. If I search and I am NOT logged in, my search results will only display those results which are set to be publicly view-able....Am I missing something here? or have I misinterpreted what I have read about what Google is doing here?. If I haven't then frankly I would expect a technology company specializing in ads...err.. search to display all results relative to my search phrase period. This is the same thing Google did with Facebook and I for one hope will continue to do this in the future.

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Except Google doesn't exactly do that. Google does a lot of manipulation of what you see. They take into account everything they can about your account, if you are logged in, and everything they can deduce about you if you're not. The reason they do this is because they believe that to provide you with what you WANT to see is providing you with a better service.

Some of us don't think that really does provide better service, so much as it creates and echo-chamber of similar opinions around us. Last hear Eli Pariser gave a good TED talk on the matter. It was pretty interesting, and somewhat scary.

http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

Is is better to show me what I WANT to see or what will challenge me? I know which I would prefer.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

This is why I started using DuckDuckGo.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"To retain settings, you must turn on cookies"

Which is another major privacy risk. Rock, meet hard place.

0
0
Bronze badge

Same here

... and I didn't know I had them turned off :). But I do have a lot of provacy related add-ons to firefox Ghostery etc.

philip

1
0
Anonymous Coward

cookies?

"Kill them" ... Armstrong and Miller.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Interesting result while trying to save preferences:

The connection was reset

The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

Yup, got that too...

It's because you get redirected to a page on http://www.google.com:443/ (i.e. HTTP non-S over the HHTPS port), and your firewall doesn't pass non-SSL traffic over that port. There's worse. The page doesn't exist on the non-443 version (via HTTP still) of the server, nor on the proper HTTPS version.

Big fat FAIL icon for Goggle.

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Bronze badge
Holmes

Google didn't want to go evil

I think these are just symptomatic problems of the creeping evil within the Google, but I actually feel Google is innocent, at least for small values of guilt. The rules of the business game as encoded in the American legal system basically require companies to push the evil buttons to make enough profits to survive--by growing like cancers. It isn't even the case that most businessmen want this, but the problem is that the laws are being written by the most corrupt politicians in the pockets of the least ethical and most greedy businessmen. The RoI on buying politicians is just too tempting for these people.

Don't forget Romney's updated version of Lincoln's most famous speech: "...so that government of the corporations, by the lawyers, for the richest 0.1% shall rule the earth."

0
0

Except the problem with that is

Searches without basic "signals" from a client are usually completely useless. If I happen to have my laptop in France, for instance, and my browser sends nil signals about my system (or the search engine doesn't query for them [duckduckgo]) then I will get google all in French, which I don't speak. Instead, my browser knows my preference for UK English, and google will see that and show me instead the contents of google.fr in English. Similarly, I would expect to see different results if I searched for "window system" from a Linux box rather than a mobile or a windos machine. Because google knows my operating system, it can connect the dots and know that I don't want to install new insulated windows in my house with automatic blinds, but want to find out more about the X Windowing system.

In a search for "football" duckduckgo will show me 11 meanings of the word "football", and it still presents an embedded mapquest for "Montesquieu-Lauragais" in France.

That being said, I really don't think google's doing evil things to my search results with knowing my operating system, browser, language preference, or physical location. Facebook, on the other hand, does use these signals to edit out MY OWN social interaction and sort posts to show what I want to see, and not what I need to see.

0
0
Thumb Down

"Searches without basic "signals" from a client are usually completely useless."

Maybe to you, but don't assume they are to everyone. I prefer unadulterated search results.

"If I happen to have my laptop in France, for instance, and my browser sends nil signals about my system (or the search engine doesn't query for them [duckduckgo]) then I will get google all in French, which I don't speak. Instead, my browser knows my preference for UK English, and google will see that and show me instead the contents of google.fr in English. "

Funny, but other sites are able to provide me with a method to select what language I see the text in. It is not necessary for a site to "guess" what language you want to see the text in. Supposing there's a need for me to see Google in French, while in France? If they force feed me content based on the engine's assumptions, rather than interactive choice, how does that help me?

"Similarly, I would expect to see different results if I searched for "window system" from a Linux box rather than a mobile or a windos machine. "

On the other hand, I do *not* prefer the search engine to assume what I'm looking for based on what OS I use to search. What if I *want* to see results pertinent to Windows OS or even windows for my house? Supposing I'm searching out technical problems I'm having on my Windows box from a second box running Linux? I would find it very annoying if I wasn't seeing results for the Windows OS in that case.

As a rational, thinking person I prefer the search engine to return results based on my search terms. I don't want it making assumptions which may or may not be relevant to me.

0
0
WTF?

"You can switch it off here"

You can't stop Google logging your searches, it seems, unless I've not read between the lines correctly? See the "However" caveat:

"You can remove all Web History from your Google Account at any time. While signed in to your Google Account:

Go to google.com/history.

Click Remove all web history.

However, as is common practice in the industry, and as outlined in the Google Privacy Policy, Google maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.