Re: They did their dash with me
Okay, Google are horrible at collecting data. That's a fair point. But...
1) They aren't collecting the data at the operating system level in a means that can't be turned off and firing it back to the mothership. (ASOP does collect data at the OS level, but does actually honour privacy commands, and in the latest versions doesn't come all creepified out of the box.)
2) They have clear, simple controls for your privacy all in one place (though admittedly online) and the ability to nuke out everything they ever stored on you.
Caveat A) That is associated with your Google account.
Caveat B) You do have to trust they are actually deleting it...though they haven't really done anything yet to make me think they don't. Eventually. I am curious as to the time before the core data (and not just the association with the identifier) is deleted.
Caveat C) Google's creepy snooping is pretty well understood so there ate lots of browser plug-ins to stop them.
3) Google probably aren't "selling your data" to advertisers. That's actually silly, from an economic point of view. They are probably selling advertisers access to individuals who meet certain criteria. This gives Google the control. The advertisers have to constantly go to Google in order to get their data in front of your eyeballs.
It doesn't make sense to think that advertisers get a great big spreadsheet that says "Trevor Pott, Age: Feck Off, Likes: Fishkeeping, Gardening, Global domination", etc. Simply handing that data over to the advertisers means they don't need Google any more.
Depending on the details of this, and on Google's restrictions and controls about making what amounts to my complete psychological profile available to governments, my competitors, enemies, exes, leprechauns and so forth, I am mostly fine with that. (I realize not everyone is.)
Advertisers want to put an ad in front of me and Google is going to (mostly anonymously, at least as far as anyone other than Google is concerned) try to make sure the best ad gets in front of me? Okay. Since I choose when and where I view ads (thanks, Adblocker, Ghostery, etc), I am okay with that. Mostly. There are niggles related to Android.
Where I get squiggly is things like "invading my e-mail because you think a source of mine might have snuck me insider information" (see: Microsoft) or handing my info over to the spooks. Those are things I don't like. Here, I am more comfortable with Google's handling of these issues than I am Microsoft's. Apple is somewhere in the middle. Apple seem to have good intentions, but shitty execution.
So...I don't know, is Google really the Big Bad All Seeing Evil? It really depends on two things:
1) Exactly who can see how much of the psychological profile of you that they construct. If it's basically just bots and scripts, we're cool until the singularity.
2) When they say they delete it, do they actually delete it?
I wish Google would provide answers. Or Microsoft. Or Apple. Or anyone. And answers we can trust. Maybe from a non-US subsidiary. Because national security letters could let HQ lie.