x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Google you 2.0

Everywhere you go online, you leave traces. Now Google is getting ready to assemble all this this evidence. Even for the blameless, this is disquieting.

Does Google know you better than you do? Come March 1, it may. When the search giant streamlines its privacy policies, Google programmers will be able share and track user information across platforms - from blogs to search, YouTube to groups. And users won't have a choice to opt out.

Google's aim is to "create one beautifully simple" experience across its entire suite of offerings. But some wonder whether the online beast has gone too far. "Google will know more about you than your wife does," one online tech writer lamented at zdnet.com.

There are countless ways how. Here's one: Google Maps knows where you are, and Google Calendar knows where you should be. Once the two talk, Gmail will be able to tell you if you'll be late getting there. Is this Big Brother? Or is it salvation for the absent-minded?

Regulators around the world will ask themselves these questions, as will lawmakers in the US and elsewhere. In reality, though, Google already has your data because you've given it to them - when you first signed up, when you log in, when you search, when you buy things and when you browse. With so many disparate pieces of ourselves floating around in cyberspace, perhaps a little spring cleaning is in order.

We do suggest, however, that there are still some things you should only tell your wife or husband.