Thursday, December 27, 2007
Google Follows Facebook Into Privacy HellIt's on a smaller scale, but Google has created a similar privacy nightmare to Facebook's Beacon mess.
While Facebook started sharing information about purchases and other activities on other websites without consent, Google revised its Reader application to share things found online with a wider group of people than users may have intended.
According to the NYTimes, Reader linked a share feature for letting friends know about interesting things found online with anyone who was on a user's Google Talk list but didn't clearly disclose that fact. This isn't nearly as bad as what Facebook did because at least there was a window that opened to explain the changes in Share when users accessed Reader. However, if you use the feature infrequently like me, then you could have been sharing stuff for a while without your knowledge.
So the golden rule going forward: don't make changes that affect privacy that include users by default -- all new "features" should be opt in. While fewer people will use the service (and hence less revenue), publishers won't have to deal with the bad PR and complaints.
By John Gartner at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)