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The long and the short of it is that IF you are signed in to Google – on whichever of their platforms you might be using, then information you might convey there can be used by them to prompt their advertisers in your direction. If you are simply using Google as a search engine this won’t happen.

But be warned, it is clever stuff so if you use gmail, they say their Algorithm looks at your g-mail and picks out key words and they prompt advertisers accordingly. They also use cooking as an example. If you search for ‘Cooking’ on the search engine, if you should go to YouTube  then you will quite probably find recommendations of cooking videos. All to help the consumer they say.

Yes, but it can be slightly annoying. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time. I have two examples. A bit under a year ago I was thinking of buying a particular make of car. I Googled it and found all the helpful information about the car, its spec etc., and subsequently went out and bought this car – but I didn’t tell Google I had bought it, so for months after I keep noticing little ads around the Internet for this car. Chance. No way!  Exactly the same thing happened with a computer I researched and eventually bought. But, no, I still find this computer’s name popping up around the Internet, and it’s distracting, and I want to shout down line, “Cut it out, I’ve bought the thing for goodness sake!!!!”

After a little bit of side-stepping Peter Barron did tell us that if you want to opt out of this system, on Google there is a link to ‘Privacy’ and then on to their ‘Privacy Centre’ and then on to ‘Ads Preferences’  and then you can ‘Opt Out’.  And yes, it is all there. You may well have had an e-mail from Google giving you links to the new Privacy Statement but as commented on the programme, most people don’t seem to read it.

So, I confess I like living in a world where I can listen to a programme (or watch it) and then go back and pick it up again and examine it on my computer. In my little illustration above, I heard Peter Barron live on the radio, I went back later and heard him again on my computer and, still there, saw him on the BBC TV programme as well, and read the BBC’s on screen print article about it all. So, the result of today’s little exercise? The boundaries are down on my various technologies, and they are also down on Google’s various platforms. Is the world a better place for all this? Probably not, but it is more interesting. Special thanks to the BBC for an excellent service!

The World of Computing
Bits and bytes from computing

Crossing the Boundaries of Technology (Google Aware)

We live in a world where, with Internet technology at least, boundaries are rapidly disappearing. Let’s give you an example. I am driving along in my car listening to Radio 4. OK, it’s my age and I’m a bit of an information freak! Get over it. Anyway I have the Today programme on and I hear presenter Evan Davis talking to Peter Barron from Google. I arrive at my destination before the end of the conversation so make a mental note to pick up on that later in the morning.
Back at home, a couple of hours later, I go to my computer (which is always on – except during my sleeping hours) and click on my Google Chrome front screen icon and then on the BBC icon (I could put the BBC icon on my front screen but it’s got enough on it already.)

I click on iPlayer and then Radio 4 and Today and listen to the Today programme. I can move the slider to pick up which part of the programme I want. In passing I notice that at 6.36am they did an introductory piece on Google changing its privacy policy. I move the slider along until it shows me roughly the time I was listening previously and there it was – Peter Barron explaining what was happening and why it wasn’t the end of the world.
In passing I had already noted on the BBC’s front page a headline about Google and following it along came up with an article on it which began, “Internet company Google has gone ahead with its new privacy policy despite warnings from the EU that it might violate European law. The change means private data collected by one Google service can be shared with its other platforms including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.”

There on the page was also a video clip of Peter Barron appearing on the BBC’s Breakfast programme, again explaining what was happening.