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Personalized Search From Google Now Opt-Out

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the escort-on-the-road-to-enlightenment dept.

Google 206

An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports that 'Google now intends to deliver customized search results even to those searching its site without having signed into a Google account.' This may be what finally drives me to seriously experiment with cookie-free browsing. I consider non-personalized search results to be of value. They quasi-subconsciously give me a better perspective of the full range of information and ideas on the net. That, and I'm also a bit paranoid about a coming world with push-button infrastructure for personalized mis/disinformation."

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206 comments

Search this! (-1, Redundant)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343076)

Nothing to see here.

Re: Search this! (2, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343522)

Actually, for my own curiosity I'd be interested in the recommendations for alternate search engines that slashdotters think are good one to use, other than google. (Probably this has been covered as a slashdot topic before; so a link would be ok.)

(I can already find this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines [wikipedia.org] thanks)

Re:Search this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30344132)

Well, I sure ain't skerd

oh c'mon (3, Insightful)

drougie (36782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343104)

How is this a bad thing exactly? With such changes Google makes it will only help you get better search results, maybe other people get better results too somehow and it will help Google target advertisements better which benefits not just Google but advertisers and consumers too. How does this pose enough a threat for you to turn your cookies off?

Re:oh c'mon (5, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343126)

I'd like to see Google make their far-forward cookie and personalization tracking service be opt-in. If someone wants to have Google looking over their shoulder almost 100% of the time they're on the web (remember, it's not just google.com but every site with a Google ad) ensuring that they are effectively advertised at, then it should be something you ask for, not ask to have taken away.

If they made their tracking "services" an opt-in proposition, *that* would prove to me and probably all other Google skeptics that they truly were out to do no evil.

As it stands, I'm convinced they're as evil as the next megacorp monopoly.

Re:oh c'mon (5, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343232)

I agree that it should be opt in, but I'm for it. Ideally, when things get advanced enough I figure Google can save me a lot of work. Once they know enough about my searching and buying habits they'll be able to do both for me. Every once in a while a box will show up at my door: "You need this. We found it at an awesome price. You will be billed via Google Finance".

Re:oh c'mon (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343238)

"Every once in a while a box will show up at my door: "You need this. We found it at an awesome price. You will be billed via Google Finance"."

I hope you are joking, because my creep-o-meter just went off the scale.

Re:oh c'mon (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343456)

I hope you are joking, because my creep-o-meter just went off the scale.

You'd rather I left my parent's basement and went to the store for hand lotion and tissue? What would your creep-o-meter think of that?

Re:oh c'mon (2, Interesting)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343470)

Mine, too, mainly because it's so *possible*. Worse yet, there's a pretty good chance it WILL be something I need. I really hate personalized results. Amazon continues to recommend music I hate simply because I bought some CD's as gifts. Sure, there's ways around it but it's a pain in the butt, and sometimes you just want to know what everyone else likes.

There really needs to be some simple way to get these recommendation engines to stop showing results for a particular category without having to get into some amazingly complex Boolean search set.

Re:oh c'mon (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343790)

Log into amazon. Click "improve my recommendations." Check "Don't use for recommendations" for anything you don't want used. Amazon problem solved.

Re:oh c'mon (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343506)

"Every once in a while a box will show up at my door: "You need this. We found it at an awesome price. You will be billed via Google Finance"." I hope you are joking, because my creep-o-meter just went off the scale.

Another generation or two of advertising and propaganda, and people will be begging for this new feature. Once conditioned to it, they will be as disappointed by companies that don't offer it as they are today at the prospect of preparing their own meals or interpreting their own information. What amuses me (despite its minor inconvenience) is the way people on this site already try to portray privacy advocates as unreasonable, paranoid, and backwards. It's as though their message is, "you don't automatically welcome every marketing effort from corporate America with open arms? WTF is wrong with you?" Since when did siding with the marketers become the default position? Ever since some of them worked for Google? Does the name really do that much for you? If so that's some effective branding, but that's all it is.

That's particularly surprising on Slashdot, with a technical crowd who should be much more aware than the masses of how information can be gathered, used, and abused. You'd think that this crowd would more intuitively understand what you can do by cross-referencing bits of information from multiple sources, like what Google is in a position to do. You'd think that because of that, there would be more privacy advocates speaking out in discussions like this. But we have our favorites and they're precious to us, aren't they? Google can do no evil because they say so, now here, look at this shiny new feature and shut up. Right? Let's also sidestep the fact that anyone could potentially data-mine if it's alright for Google to do so. Privacy is in a sorry state right now, we need some strong protections for it, and marketing efforts like this personalized search should always be opt-in. Even if Google never does any evil to anyone, you have no reasonable expectation that everyone else will be so nice.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

wtbname (926051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30344084)

tldr

Can you give me the Google Summary (tm) of what you just said?

Re:oh c'mon (0)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343854)

Don't worry. They won't be able to do this until you make banks.google.com your new bank account. Then their terms of service will allow them to automatically charge things for you. And you'll say it's okay because it's Google and you trust them.

Re:oh c'mon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343244)

Every once in a while a box will show up at my door: "You need this. We found it at an awesome price. You will be billed via Google Finance".

Uhhh yeah, that's EXACTLY what I want. Paying for things to show up that I didn't ask for. Good idea there. Idiot.

Re:oh c'mon (4, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343312)

Your new sense of humour will be arriving shortly. Based on SlashDot posts, your old one seems to be broken.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343440)

Will it be billed to his Google Finance account?

Re:oh c'mon (1)

careysub (976506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30344026)

How about the day a policeman shows up your the door with a search warrant because Google informed the police of probable criminal behavior?

Re:oh c'mon (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343240)

Might as well ask them to pull out a gun and shoot their own foot. What should be changed are browser defaults to "delete new cookies on exit", and make it a special opt-in to allow the site to set permanent cookies. If I go to the cookies page after a surfing session, there are tons and tons of sites that have no legitimate reason to leave cookies other than to track me. Permanent cookies should be handled by a info bar in the same way as popup windows, "Allow this site to set permantent cookies?". That would cut down cookie abuse massively.

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343388)

Yeah, popup windows are the solution, it's not like people click them without reading or anything. That said, I like your default cookies erase idea, though it is trivial to check that box.

Re:oh c'mon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343598)

it's called firefox numbnuts. i've been doing this for *years* Any site that I don't need to login into gets a deny.

Re:oh c'mon (5, Interesting)

iwaybandit (1632765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343648)

That's easy, set the cookie file permissions to read-only. I've been running the browser this way for a few months, and it has been a bit of a hassle at times. Overall it seems to be worth the trouble, since each time I start the browser, there are only the cookies for site preferences and login status.
  • start browser
  • go to every site that you frequently use
  • log-in, set preferences, whatever it takes to make the site set the cookie that you want to preserve
  • use the cookie manager to delete unwanted cookies
  • close browser
  • set the cookie file read-only (0400)

Next time you browse, the cookies will accumulate like always but disappear whe you close the browser. However, if you change site preferences, those changes will be lost also.

Re:oh c'mon (2, Informative)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30344066)

1. Install NoScript.

2. Blacklist google-analytics.com.

3. Stop whining.

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343138)

This is bad for the same reason sycophants are a bad idea... Just because you like the answer doesn't make it *correct*.

[bad analogy]
Suppose we google 'windows'-- if the first page is links to antivirus or people saying how much they enjoy windows... we may not want to see that, but it's useful information, and I'd rather see that than my 'personalized' results about switching to a Mac.

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343142)

I already turn my cookies off for Google.

Re:oh c'mon (4, Insightful)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343166)

"How is this a bad thing exactly?"

Two key phrases:

Uninvited opt-out "feature"
Persistent tracking

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

show me altoids (1183399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343200)

I value a search engine for the variety of stuff it presents me with that I wouldn't necessarily have thought of. This will limit that variety, presenting me with mostly stuff I already know about.

Plugin to alter cookie data randomly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343292)

Are there any Firefox plugins out there that randomly alter the values stored in certain cookies?

Re:Plugin to alter cookie data randomly? (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343644)

that way you can get random ad's for say, columbian dancing dust, and home pregnancy test kits, vs ads for stuff that are at least remotely related to topics you are interested in?
I love how people seem to think ad's on the web are a bad thing. obviously, they are effective because enough people follow them in search of a product that interests them to make companies continue to use them.
sure, there are annoying ads out there, (my personal least favorite are flash ones that take scroll a window across a page, expand, or animate in some way making it hard to click the close button on it). but personally, i'd rather deal with a few ads, than pay out of my pocket for a lot of the services online that are ad supported.
if ad's went away in favor of charging (even this micro-transaction bull crap) for reading the news, or searching for a new graphics card. my web use would drop to pre-internet levels rather rapidly.

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343360)

Sorry but everything Google do is opt-in by virtue of the fact you are opting to use their website, all google are doing is offering you a way to opt-out of a specific feature while still getting the rest of them. This has no effect on their tracking as they were doing that anyway, at least now you get better results in exchange for it.

Re:oh c'mon (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343654)

Sorry but everything Google do is opt-in by virtue of the fact you are opting to use their website

and

This has no effect on their tracking as they were doing that anyway

You do know that you contradicted yourself there, right?

FYI, Google does not track me because nothing on my network loads any of their analytics tools or other tracking devices. That's how you deal with an entity that will track you whether or not you ever use their services. By behaving this way, Google themselves have invalidated the quid-pro-quo arguments that may have been in favor of their methods.

That is, the argument goes that Google is providing free services and all they want is some of your data, so therefore it is fair enough for them to have it in exchange for those free services. This argument falls apart the moment I receive a Google tracking cookie for visiting a non-Google site and, this is key, it happens whether or not I ever use any Google services. At such time, they become intrusive and, since I don't discriminate, this causes me to treat them like any other intrusive influence; that is, they get blocked.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343396)

It's much better to opt out by adjusting your browser's settings. This allows you to opt out of a load of shit from all sorts of companies. If you're not doing this then you've got more to worry about than google and if you are doing it then why bitch?

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343616)

If you block the google cookie you can't go to google.com when coming from an ip-address registered in Sweden or China. So you are basically choosing between being tracked or being filtered.

Re:oh c'mon (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343172)

Sure, nothing wrong with reinforcing people's distorted views of the world.

This is against the idea of free information exchange and truth.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343228)

Personally, I do not like the idea of my search and browsing habits being tracked by anyone, in any capacity. I cannot speak for whatever country you live in, but here in the USA, our government has a history of monitoring citizens without warrants and without concern for the constitution. Google have a massive database of our browsing habits is the last thing we need, given that the courts already declared that email stored on a third party server is not covered by the 4th amendment.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343326)

> ...the courts already declared that email stored on a third party server is
> not covered by the 4th amendment.

They have done no such thing.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343380)

If they get a court order, all your inbox goes to authories. Stop living in some sort of utopic dream land.

Even slashdot admitted they had to remove couple of messages because US Secret service politely asked them with reasons making sense.

Re:oh c'mon (2, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343484)

> ...the courts already declared that email stored on a third party server is
> not covered by the 4th amendment.

They have done no such thing.

c.f. Email Privacy Rights [cdt.org]

Stored Communications Act [wikipedia.org]

but also http://cyb3rcrim3.blogspot.com/2009/11/cioffi-email-search-warrant-residual.html [blogspot.com]

Re:oh c'mon (2)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343398)

Every website you visit that stores a cookie is tracking your browsing habits on its site, until you delete that cookie. What Google's doing is just the same.

http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=54048 [google.com]

To disable the tracking, you just delete the cookie. Set Firefox to delete cookies on exit or startup, or disallow that site's cookie and you're golden. This 'feature' from google is no different.

Just rememeber to obliterate those evil, sneaky Flash cookies too: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623 [mozilla.org]

Re:oh c'mon (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343404)

Your ISP already knows everything you're doing and pretty much any site you visit will have your IP too and know what you did on their site. The government can already track you and may be doing so now

Re:oh c'mon (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343420)

Personally, I do not like the idea of my search and browsing habits being tracked by anyone, in any capacity.

Fortunately Firefox 3.5 has private browsing. Combine that with the TOR browser button and you'll have a measure of privacy. You can pick and choose what Google knows about you.

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343264)

And you can even turn Search History off. That's how I browse. I'm always logged in and Search History is turned off.

Re:oh c'mon (2, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343336)

Because the FBI and others are positively *drooling* over access to a database of everyone's entire search history, and they'll almost certainly get it.

Re:oh c'mon (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343422)

That's easy. Just force ISPs to give up their logs. Everyone has an ISP but, believe it or not, not everyone uses Google.

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343424)

How is this a bad thing? Are you serious?

Have you ever heard of something called "pigeon holing"? As in "Oh, drougie? Yeah, he's the guy that understands 'printf' really well. We give him all the non-customer facing 'printf' work."

Custom search is the worst, most useless, thing I have ever seen in my life. ;Cuecat had more value. If the only thing you're interested in is in the narrowest scoped aspects of life - and never anything else - then _maybe_ it has something of value to you.

As for me, Google is completely unusable if I'm logged into GMail. If there's a way to opt-out now, great. That's a huge improvement. However, I just use Yahoo! search because It Just Works. Bing is a decent engine and I suppose I'm using that now, but what matters to me is that the results are far superior to the crap I get from Google's "Custom Search".

Re:oh c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343866)

I'm sorry, but Google Sucks(tm).

I just went to try to figure out how to shut off the custom search. I never did find it but I did end up at my iGoogle page.

It had a "Diagonal Sudoku" puzzle. Cool, I thought. I started to fill it out, got stuck for a bit, and then the page refreshed and lost all of my data.

STUPID. STUPID. STUPID!

Re:oh c'mon (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343446)

Most of us want information. We _tolerate_ advertising. By "tuning" the advertiser, they enhance the chances of their paying clients, _not their customers_, getting what they want. We as users of Google do not want the select few larger advertisers automatically getting the lion's shares of the hits.

TrackMeNot (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343122)

I'd wonder how it'll affect users of this nice Firefox extension [nyu.edu] ...

Re:TrackMeNot (5, Informative)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343364)

I prefer using Optimize Google [mozilla.org] (which is based on Customize Google [mozilla.org] , but that one is no longer maintained). Optimize Google enhances Google search results, but also allows you to make Google cookie UID anonymous, plus allows you to stop all cookies being sent to Google Analytics. You can also remove Google Ads, and Google click tracking. There are other options available for most other Google tools, too e.g. GMail, Calendar, Maps, Docs etc.

Re:TrackMeNot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343564)

What happens when this thing searches for kiddy porn? No thanks.

Re:TrackMeNot (2, Informative)

sakti (16411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343600)

I like this relatively new cookie control mechanism. It is simple but effective.

selectivecookiedelete; https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/11044 [mozilla.org]

Scraped Google (5, Informative)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343154)

I'd suggest Scroogle (https://ssl.scroogle.org/ -- Google sans the crap), but it seems down at the moment. Cue the conspiracy theories in 3, 2, 1 ...

Re:Scraped Google (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343168)

Nevermind, it works now.

Re:Scraped Google (3, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343536)

Scroogle looks very interesting, but how do we know it is unevil? I've looked over the site moderately thoroughly and haven't found any terms of use or privacy policy. If it is there, it isn't in an obvious spot. And even if it is there, it is nothing but words.

Scroogle itself appears to be related to http://googlewatch.org/ [googlewatch.org] but whois shows different registrants (googlewatch=Deng Youqian, scroogle=Daniel Brandt). I just don't really know how to evaluate a proxy such as scroogle, because my only means of finding out information is google or other search engines, not wikipedia though as the scroogle article is deleted. If I'm going to be paranoid about search, I would be naive to trust search results, proxies, or random comments on Slashdot. And since I am a bit paranoid about search (I played with the AOL data a few years back -- a real eyeopener), I feel quite lost at sea.

Re:Scraped Google (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343658)

I'd suggest Scroogle (https://ssl.scroogle.org/ -- Google sans the crap), but it seems down at the moment.

Scroogle has limits on how much you can use it. If you use it too much, your IP address will be blocked and the site won't answer you at all.

quasi-subconsciously? (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343180)

The use of the phrase "quasi-subconsciously" is fascinating. The rest, not so much.

Re:quasi-subconsciously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343198)

maybe you should subscribe to his newsletter

proxy search services (5, Informative)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343186)

I use a proxy as my default search service, like this:

http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?q=google+is+collecting+your+data [scroogle.org]

There may also be others, but this one has worked for me.

Downsides: no cached or similar pages, no searchable search history, no cute math results, none of the value-add search links or maps at the top of the results - just the plain search results.

Upside: no data collection on my searches. (if I believe that the proxy is not also collecting data), you can also set it to give 100 search results as the default.

Re:proxy search services (1)

aflag (941367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343298)

dude, you MUST protect your precious search data, indeed. The way I see it, google cannot control _me_ if I understand how it works. It can control others who in turn may have power over me. But it's not me giving them no data that will prevent that. It'd be people educating themselves a little more.

Single service creates the problem (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343348)

If people didn't fixate themselves to single search engine and use whatever fits best for that particular search or basically, whatever they feel like using that day, this needless monopoly and the issues coming with it would be instantly over.

Why is it a nightmare to track P2P? It is the randomness, multiple services, technologies, hosts, habits changing instantly etc.

What we need is some sort of revolution in size of Gnutella, Wikipedia, Bittorrent. Some invention that really works and actually used/liked by average user. If it is good enough, it will be adopted. I don't think gnutella, bittorrent or wikipedia did multi billion ad campaigns.

Re:proxy search services (2, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343540)

Google is not the concern, nor is their control. I have no expectation Google uses search history for any purpose other than algorithm tweaking. The privacy issue comes from ones search history collected in one place. In aggregate, the collection of all Internet search history is an extremely powerful tool for learning about a person, and possibly exposing things an individual doesn't even realize they are revealing.

Most people have never been sued or accused of a crime, gone through a trial, been deposed or subpoenaed, or have any understanding of just how bad things can get when situations really go bad. There are times when one justifiably wants to guard their privacy carefully, but typically it's difficult to always know in the moment when those times are. Realizing after the fact that you need to protect information from discovery is too late.

Re:proxy search services (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343620)

Has it ever occurred to you that Scroogle might be gathering the valuable search data of people with "something to hide"? (Yes, I know they say they won't, but that isn't particularly enforceable.)

cookie whitelists (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343194)

This may be what finally drives me to seriously experiment with cookie-free browsing.

I've been doing this for a few years thanks to Firefox. Set your preferences to accept cookies (maybe 3rd party, too, depending on where you browse), but then set it to clear them when you close Firefox. Then click on the 'exceptions' button and make a whitelist of the handful of sites where you want to actually keep persistent cookies (slashdot, any forums or webshops you frequent, etc). Every time you close firefox, your Google cookie will be tossed, along with most of the others.

Re:cookie whitelists (1)

Menchi (677927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343426)

That's good, but not really cookie-free browsing. I use this for sites were you have to click some "Yes, I've read the terms of service" disclaimer away on your first visit but apart from that and a few exceptions for permanent cookie storage (forums, shopping sites, ...) turning cookies off completely is perfectly save and doesn't hinder your internet experience in any way. That said, Google is not on my exceptions lists and never was.

Re:cookie whitelists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343454)

True. It's not exactly cookie-free, but it's close enough for my purposes. I don't mind sites gathering a few stats from me on each visit. But I do mind them building up a fairly comprehensive profile of me (even an anonymous me) over time.

Re:cookie whitelists (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343534)

Every time you close firefox, your Google cookie will be tossed...

The last time I closed my browser and tossed my cookies, it was because I'd accidently clicked on goat.se!

cookies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343248)

This may be what finally drives me to seriously experiment with cookie-free browsing.

Your personalized search history will still be based on a cookie even if you're not logged in [google.com] .

It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343256)

All the spam cookies generating extra page loads to doubleclick et al weren't enough to get you to install CS Lite? You must be running a supercomputer on a private T3. By the way, when a story like this comes from "An Anonymous Reader" I can't help but think "Unabomber". Wasn't there something about a push-button infrastructure for personalized mis/disinformation in his manifesto? Only people hiding in shacks and never speaking to other humans are vulnerable to personalized misinformation.

Re:It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343276)

"Only people hiding in shacks and never speaking to other humans are vulnerable to personalized misinformation."

That really depends on how well crafted the misinformation is. If every person was given exactly the information they needed to hear in order to gossip about whatever topic the powers behind the information want them to gossip about, the misinformation would work very well against people with a lot of friends. All that you would need is a detailed enough portfolio on everyone: habits, mannerisms, interests, etc...

Re:It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343330)

All that you would need is a detailed enough portfolio on everyone: habits, mannerisms, interests, etc...

That and competence. So far, google has demonstrated competence. If it is an arm of the government (let's just postulate here) then sooner or later it will become the government; google has always demonstrated an ability to promote efficient alternatives. The question has always been, if I might paraphrase Pippin, is whether the fornicating we're getting is worth the fornicating we're getting. I would argue that in order to successfully pull off an orchestrated yet personalized misinformation campaign on a national scale, the government would have to reinvent itself into an entity that would at least function efficiently as a government, which is about all you can ask for. The powers that be will always find a way to place themselves above the rest.

Re:It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343332)

Utter bullshit. "personalized misinformation" = lies. Misinformation is lies even if they are personalized lies.

So...

Only people hiding in shacks and never speaking to other humans can be lied to.

Do you see how bloody ridiculous this statement is now?

Re:It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343338)

Sadly, CS Lite is no longer under active develop or maintenance.

And by the way, do you happen to know exactly what is the difference between "allow temporarily" and "allow for session" in CS Lite? Thanks.

Re:It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (2, Informative)

Disfnord (1077111) | more than 4 years ago | (#30344020)

Allow temporarily will allow cookies for that site until you close your browser. Next time you open the browser and go to that site, cookies will be blocked again. Allow for session will always allow cookies for that site, but will delete them every time the browser is closed.

Re:It took THIS to get you to drop cookies? (2, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343586)

"Only people hiding in shacks and never speaking to other humans are vulnerable to personalized misinformation."

Does the basement of my mother's shack count?

I Google (4, Insightful)

delire (809063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343280)

This in built 'subjectivity' in the search mechanism represents a kind of fragmentation of the commons the searchable Internet supposedly represents: sometimes I want to know what other people know, what they are looking at, what is popular or interesting for them.

Secondly, grouping searches around an assumption of my interests assumes that my interests are 1/ Statistically quantifiable (solving a loathesome and boring problem may result in many queries), 2/ Particular to me (I may be searching for someone else, or my computer could be shared with another), 3/ Can be built from clear-text (sometimes I might be searching within a context do take me to a binary, like a video, arbitrarily linked in a page (like the comments for instance)).

Finally, isn't there a problem with diminishing returns here? The set that represents my interests will get 'smaller' in subject matter as I continue to search within that set.

I'll certainly be switching if Google's approximation of my interests goes under the radar, digging into cookies when I'm 'signed out'.

Re:I Google (2, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343370)

sometimes I want to know what other people know, what they are looking at, what is popular or interesting for them.

so do I, but they complained and now I'm not allowed within 100 yards of them :(

Re:I Google (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343824)

This is an example of a computer trying to be smart. The way it behaves changes over time with your interactions with it, but this modified behavior is particular to your connection. If you go search on another machine elsewhere, you'll get different behavior, and you might not know why you aren't finding something you could find easily on your home machines. Smart computers frustrate users. Give me a dumb, predictable computer any way, then I can accuractly predict how it'll respond to my input, and this tailor my input for the exact response I want, every time.

New Google Maps on mobile (Symbian) (4, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343308)

I think Google apologizers has become worse than Apple apologizers but let me try one more time.

If you install current Google maps to your Symbian phone (possibly others soon) and "reset it", it will send your personal "favorites" (read: locations saved) to Google, without even asking you. For example "Grandma's home" goes from your personal phone memory to Google, instantly.

It must have sort of "opt out" too of course but it doesn't change the fact that Google really looks like some sort of information vampire, trying to get all data from you, especially personal ones.

One day in future, looking to their horrible image among customers and several government/private investigations going on, they will ask themselves "What did we do wrong?" but it will be too late for them. My "citation"? MS history in 1990s. Quote from the book "No Logo" (sorry, double translated) "It was a cool thing to work at Microsoft but whatever happened in no time, people started to stare at us like we work for Philip Morris."

Re:New Google Maps on mobile (Symbian) (4, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343472)

If you install current Google maps to your Symbian phone (possibly others soon) and "reset it", it will send your personal "favorites" (read: locations saved) to Google, without even asking you. For example "Grandma's home" goes from your personal phone memory to Google, instantly.

I don't care if Google knows where Grandma lives. It's the Big bad wolf that I'm worried about.

Re:New Google Maps on mobile (Symbian) (3, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343898)

Well, now that Google knows, what's to stop them from telling the Big Bad Wolf? After all, doing that is their core business.

Re:New Google Maps on mobile (Symbian) (0)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343544)

It is stored as part of your google maps account... That seems obvious and seems to make sense. They advertise that you can set paths w/e on your computer then just go, they'll be available on your phone. It also doesn't matter if you break your phone and get a new one, nothing breaks.

Oh noes Google is saving information about me that I told it to. I don't think you are afraid of Google, you are afraid of 'the cloud'. Online services store your shit online zomg. Not shocking. ~_~ Not even surprising.

Re:New Google Maps on mobile (Symbian) (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30344040)

you are afraid of 'the cloud'

So, if plain old 'server' is being called 'cloud' Let me get it scathologically: The 'cloud' is full of s***, you better beware of the rain

Google fanboys lemma: 'In Gog we trust'

You're not that interesting. (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343340)

Sorry, but it's true. I'm not either. The internet seems to have made everyone out there think they're being watched, studied, and examined 24/7. As if people really care what you've been searching for any reason beyond showing relevant ads and making search better.

People thinking that there's someone over at Google wringing their hands together and laughing maniacally because they have your recent searches need to get over themselves. They're not spying on you for some nefarious purpose, it's to give you better results. You'd probably be a much happier person if you just dealt with it.

Re:You're not that interesting. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343400)

People like their privacy, even their illusion of privacy even when they turn around and give whatever privacy they have away willingly. It's human nature. That google tracks results to give better results in turn? I couldn't care, some people will and do. See the first sentence, it's half fallacy, half reality.

Re:You're not that interesting. (2, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343410)

They're not spying on you for some nefarious purpose, it's to give you better results. You'd probably be a much happier person if you just dealt with it.

Yes, but if they do monitor all web surfing and searches and use the results to target adverts, they'll only be serving ads for porn from now on. How is that going to help society?

Seriously for a moment, once you got ads targetted by the site the ads were displayed on, so if I visited 'lawnmowers.com', I'd want to get ads for lawnmowers and garden supplies. I wouldn't want to get ads targetted things I've been surfing for previously (televisions actually) because I've moved on from that to wanting something new - ie. I wouldn't be getting the ads for stuff I want to buy, only those I had already bought.

Re:You're not that interesting. (2, Informative)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343458)

I dunno, I've found Google's targeting to be pretty spot-on, with the exception of Gmail (which is still pretty accurate). I find if I search for something, I'll get ads related to that search, not previous searches.

Re:You're not that interesting. (1)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343998)

Yeah. I guess giving my birthright to Google would be the highlight of my miserable insignificant life.

Just needs to be easier to manage (1)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343378)

Just needs to be easier to manage, Radio button:

O Customize (Personalise) Searches: Yes/No

Simple solution (4, Insightful)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343386)

Auto-delete cookies when closing the browser. It's not that complicated, and while it costs you some extra time (logging on etc.), it might be less than you thought it would. I've been doing it for 5 years now.

Is there no end to the data being collected? (2, Funny)

ValuJet (587148) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343408)

I've had my browser cookies turned off for 8 years. I only use cash to make purchases. I don't even use the bathroom in my house because I'm worried THEY are watching what I'm eating. Sure my basement is filled with mason jars filled with crap, but it isn't as difficult as you might think. You also get used to the smell after a while. It is a small price to pay to not have the government know what I'm eating/drinking.

scroogle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343428)

Have you realized where it goes to if you go to .com instead of .org?

Balkanization of the internet? (2, Insightful)

GreenTom (1352587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343436)

Someone wrote a book last year saying how more and more of the polarization in the U.S. is because people are segregating themselves into neighborhoods based on politics. Do you want to leave someplace with Whole Foods and yoga studios, or with megachurches and gun shops? This Google move seems to be taking this same segregation on-line. Google "climate change"....hmmm, I see this person's been to Fox News recently...better send 'em to a denial site. Or, more generally, once you get stuck in an affinity group, Google results are going to tend to keep you there. Seems like this is just going to amplify the echo chamber effect that lets so many people veer off into idiotic extremism.

OPT OUT without a Google account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343460)

But can you OPT OUT without signing up for a Google account?

porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30343584)

one question... will this affect my porn habbit?

De-centralised search? (1)

Robert Frazier (17363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343702)

I'm not up to speed with what's available or feasible technically, but I have been thinking a bit about the structure of searching. In particular, I've been trying to work out how de-centralised searching could work, or, at least, work it out conceptually (I don't work in a computer related field). My first thoughts were trying to see if there could be a model similar to that used by bittorrent, or at least what I understand of bittorrent (never having used it).

It seems to me that one of the features that has made the internet so useful, and powerful, is that the important functions are de-centralised. And that the search function, a very important one, is odd-man-out in this respect.

Best wishes,
Bob

This may be unpopular... (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343750)

I think if everyone's laundry were out in the open, we could stop pretending that some people's laundry is always clean.

They already to it with YouTube (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30343914)

I noticed the other day when I went to the YouTube homepage that the recommendations it gave me were videos that closely conformed with my actual interests. Except I hadn't "logged in" yet.

seriously experiment with cookie-free browsing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30344034)

Does pope wear a funny hat? Do bears shit in the woods? Isn't that the only sensible thing to do?

Fucking moran. (sic)

The Free Web Was Nice While It Lasted (1)

thebian (1218280) | more than 4 years ago | (#30344096)

The beauty of the web was that everything was available to everyone. It was free, as in speech and beer. But this is going fast. Google's effort to personalize search is only the lastest from the big corporations to turn the web into one long seemless commercial, and to turn the users into commodities.

I'd like to think that I can control my searching by altering my search terms. Google and Microsoft and many others would like to identify me and give me what sells best no matter what I ask for.

Their way of doing this is to find a way to describe me through my web history. I doubt that this is any more possible than the phrenology of a century ago, but I can't decide whether it's worse for them to keep trying and failing, or for them to actually figure out how the system work accurately. Either way, my search is poorer for being limited by their manipulations.

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