In light of behemoth Google’s new privacy policies, which go into effect March 1, I have some decisions to make. Most of the info about what’s happening is available here if you don’t want to read through the Google-ese.
My colleague Ted Major is going to delete his account, which I completely understand. What should I do?
The YouTube connection I’ve seen coming for some time. It is already impossible to sign in to YouTube without a Google account connected. This can lead to multiple Google accounts. Really, anything can. Which means that to prevent every-Google-thing you have from hooking up with every-other-Google-thing you have, multiple accounts would seem to be the way to go. But would it work?
One could seem to have a professional account that you only use for work, one for fun, one for something else. However, I wonder whether this is really possible. I have several different Google accounts. I’ve noticed that Gmail, mysteriously, seems to know about all of them. I’m not sure why, and that makes me suspect multiple accounts may not be a long term solution.
So I’m thinking: what do I use right now that’s Google?
YouTube. With multiple accounts, I can use Favorites and/or Channels to connect anything I actually want together. Eventually I assume, however, that you won’t be able to sustain any account that has a non-Gmail email address as the contact. This will likely be a problem with anything Google has eaten. If Gmail somehow knows about other Gmail accounts, the only solution will be to use YouTube only for professional stuff, and save my personal Favorites as lists of links in a text file on my hard drive.
Docs. I could separate the kind of Docs with different accounts, but don’t think this will work given the above. Most are professional anyway. For this one, I think I just need to clean up and delete things.
Hangouts, Calendar, Reader. Professional anyway, so no problem.
Picasa. I can take down whatever I don’t want there.
Android. No phone, no problem.
Looking through everything, I realize that all of it I’m using for professional or teaching only anyway, except that other accounts I have feed into Gmail with POP or IMAP. So that’s the security gap for me. I will remove those accounts, and use a different mail reader.
Then there’s Chrome. No one is talking about Chrome. Search is Google’s main service; it defines the company. Chrome is already not possible to use anonymously. I am quite sure that will be the case here – it will be a hub connecting everything you do. In all the stories about the privacy change, “search” is in lower case, like it isn’t as important as the other programs. But it’s the heart of the matter, and Chrome is its henchman. It’s too bad, since Chrome works well. But I’ll be heading back to Firefox.
I guess I’m good then till they Engulf and Devour the other services I use, like Diigo, Vimeo, Livestream and Slideshare. I have always lived by the premise that nothing you put on the web is truly private anyway, so I’ve used it mostly for teaching and professional use, and relying primarily on my hard drive for anything personal. I am now very, very glad I’ve done that.
I recommend that everyone using Google (and who isn’t?) engage in this kind of analysis and decide what you want to do.