Good or bad?
Whether all this is good or bad depends on you and your trust in Google. Personally, I don't mind targeted ads (I prefer them to irrelevant ones) and I'm not particularly worried about Google's using its combined database to invade my privacy. I've been using Gmail and Google Voice for years and if the company wanted to be "evil," they already know a great deal about me, including the content of all my email and a record of all my incoming and outgoing calls. Still, there are plenty of people who do want to limit what Google knows about them, and if you're one of those people you should have the right and the tools to do so.
Limit What Google Collects
On Forbes.com, I detail five steps on how to protect your privacy:
- Don't sign into Google
- Use your browser's "private" or "incognito" mode
- Clear your Google history
- Review your Google dashboard
- Clear your browser's history
You'll find instructions here.
Disclosure: Larry Magid is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit Internet safety organization that receives financial support from Google and other Internet companies.