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Privacy and Google's Policies

Not long ago, Google was strapped with fines from almost every European country. Quite obviously Europeans seem to be a little more protective about their online privacy. While the world learned the art of living a public life through social networks, privacy got pushed to the background. However the meaning of privacy never died out. Simply stating the need to privacy, we all want certain aspects of our lives to strictly remain personal.

It is not wrong to say that privacy would become a very elite and expensive commodity in near future. We have already begun to see that. Specialized agencies have started emerging that take care of your digital footprint and make it harder for hackers and malevolent parties to access your personal data. Well much like any other business, privacy is also a need that is artificially created. It would not be such a big necessity if there was no internet or social networking in the first place.

Google advertisements didn’t have endorsement features until it jumped into social networking scene with Google Plus. Endorsements were always there in Facebook Advertisements in the form of sponsored story ads. Even the pages that you like give out a certain reference to your friends on Facebook that you have endorsed something. Google simply made sure that a large number of Gmail users that are already there, simply activate their Google Plus account in 3 clicks and make their personal profile information public. It was easy! Forget about the Google authorship and benefits in search rankings. Those only matter to marketers. Most people have no use for all that, but what matters is the endorsement.

Now taking your profile picture from Google+ and putting it beside an advertisement is something that means a lot. I am not saying that Google is doing something wrong. In fact I am defending Google for doing what everybody else is doing blatantly and nobody is raising any fingers. Eventually, what good are you people if you take only the free stuff all the time and not even endorse a product or two? After all our lives depend so much on Google! By that logic in fact, if you want privacy, you should be able to pay for it…. in future!

Google’s introduction of 3 rules have something to tell us. How much we are willing to endorse, to whom we endorse and whether we want to endorse at all?

Stated to go live on November 11th, 2013, The following are the 3 changes in Google ToS:

  • First, clarifying how your Profile name and photo might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts).
  • Second, a reminder to use your mobile devices safely.
  • Third, details on the importance of keeping your password confidential.

We understand that after loosing the lawsuits concerning privacy, Google is bound to give people more options to secure their privacy. Good thing that it has decided to let people control their endorsement settings. At this point it is nothing more than just a check-box that lets you turn off your endorsement on ads. The second and third changes are actually funny because they have nothing to do with any physical change but about behavioural change!! It’s great to know that in the year 2013 people need to be told the importance of keeping passwords confidential. That makes me really comfortable about humanity’s future!

Anyway, there are three more things to pay attention to:

  1. Google’s 2 step verification – This is really great to secure your account. Only down side is that you will have to wait for a text message on your mobile device and enter an extra piece of code each time you log in. According to Google:

Because bad guys would have to not only get your password and your username, they’d have to get a hold of your phone.

2.  Application Specific Passwords – At one time we were happy to be able to sign in to all our accounts with one password. Now we have started to see the problem in it. So here’s the solution. Back to stone age.

3.  Unusual Activity Alerts – This is really genius! We sure want to secure the perimeter and make sure that any breach is reported immediately. Our digital presence is almost like a country now.




Koustave B

Chief Conversationalist at Organic Social. Brand Communications Consultant with a Tech background. Master Content Writer focused on Inbound Marketing. Loves Guitars and Bicycle rides. The Obi-Wan-Kenobi of Social Media.


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