Google and the give-and-take of privacy
However, many of these actions can also be seen as Google wanting to make sure it hangs on to as much data as possible. “Don’t switch Location History off entirely! Just temporarily use Incognito Mode when you’ve got something to hide!” And “don’t share your Nest data with other companies, let us keep it!”
The truth is privacy and utility have a more complicated relationship in the modern world than we might wish. While many of us would love the benefits of Google’s amazing technology without the company tracking us, it’s not really possible.
Google needs to track us to make money, but it also needs to track us to make its user-focused technologies work so well. It’s this tradeoff that makes dumping Google a far less appealing prospect to many than dumping Facebook. If you choose total privacy away from Google you’ll lose out by missing the convenience others benefit from.
At some point, the value of all this utility becomes greater than the potential cost of giving Google so much data — at least in the short term (who knows what the long-term implications are of one company having so much information).
Let’s not kid ourselves, by introducing more privacy-focused features, Google is aiming to avoid regulation that may hurt it more than it can hurt itself. But as long as we’re aware that’s the case, I’m happy with the compromise. For now, at least.