How do you think Google makes money?

by chris on February 28, 2012

There is a lot of chatter this week and being everyone’s favorite geek I am getting a lot of questions about Google’s new consolidated privacy policy. They are rolling 70 policies into 1. People should like this but they don’t, if they are even paying attention which most (other than you dear readers, all three of you) are not. The big uproar is that Google is going to track you across products and if you use those products they are going to combine that usage data and use it to better target their advertising. They have to serve those ads – it is how they make money and employ thousands of people and in turn allow thousands of others to do the same.

Is this any different than what has been going on in consumer market research for decades? Frankly, no. In the late 80′s and early 90′s – the dark ages before the internet, Nielsen was taking barcode scanner data from the supermarkets and churning out all kinds of fascinating information for advertisers. Radio and TV get paid for the same way. Companies make stuff and they want to sell it to you and they want to know who you are and if you might be interested. The internet just makes it efficient and simple.

Every major media and internet company today collects your information and you can bet they sell that information whenever they get a chance. Stop and read the privacy policies and end user agreements once in a while.

If you want to delete or dumb down some of your Google history the EFF has a good how-to. If you care about your privacy and your rights on the internet you should be a member. And if you want a more detailed write up of what isn’t really changing see InfoWorlds nice writeup “6 things you need to know about Google’s new privacy policy

By the way, you can be uniquely tracked by just your browser even if you are logged out of services like Google and Facebook. Your browser (in order to work) has to tell web servers all kinds of things. If you don’t believe me read the EFF primer on privacy and then check this out: http://panopticlick.eff.org/

Update: Here is the EFF’s guide for clearing out your YouTube history: How to Remove Your YouTube Viewing and Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect 

Update #2: If you really really care about electronic privacy the other organization you should look into is the Electronic Privacy Information Center  aka EPIC. They really care about this stuff.

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White Rim in a day, Moab, UT

by chris on August 7, 2006

Just posting this here for reference. I originally posted it to mtbr.com on March 28, 2006.

White Rim …. in one day. Link to the photos is at the end.

White Rim. Say that to most mountain bikers and they think “epic trip, 3 days, support vehicle”. Say White Rim to my mountain bike buddies and they say “yeah, that’d be great day trip”. For the uninitiated, White Rim is a trail / jeep road that is 102 miles long and runs through BLM lands and Canyonlands National Park near Moab, UT. Canyonlands NP has some unbelievable scenery. Right out of a movie. Ride White Rim and you get to see more of Canyonlands NP than most people can imagine exists. To ride it on a mountain bike you get to feel it too.

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