Welcome to Google Data Armageddon

G Day is upon us, and with it Google's new all-in-one privacy policy. Here's a tool to make your searches a wee bit more private.


Today is G Day, when Google’s new privacy policy takes effect. What this means is that, starting right now, Google will be combining all of your data eggs in one big basket, the better to serve you targeted ads. That includes the channels you subscribe to on YouTube, the blogs you’ve created in Blogger, the photos you’ve posted to Picassa, the items you’ve +1’d in Google+, your search history, and a lot more.

Taken altogether, those eggs could paint a fairly thorough portrait of you, your interests and activities, all tied to your Google identity (ie, your Gmail address).

That makes some people nervous. Others are just using it as an excuse to bash Google for their own purposes. G Day doesn’t actually change the amount or type of information Google gathers, it just puts it all neatly in one place. But it does raise troubling questions about what else your Google Profile data could be used for besides targeting ads.

Employer background searches? Qualifying for loans? Obtaining health insurance? Police searches? All much more convenient under the new all-inclusive Google policy, and none of which is off the table at this point, despite any protestations of innocence from Google. We have all heard those before, followed shortly thereafter by an “Oops, we accidentally hoovered data off your WiFi router/ignored your browser’s do-not-track settings. Our bad.” ‘Don’t be evil’ jumped the shark a long time ago.

In a cunningly timed announcement, Abine – makers of the Do Not Track Plus browser utility – just revealed it has purchased Firefox add-in GoogleSharing and renamed it Protected Search. GoogleSharing anonymizes your searches by stripping personally identifiable information like IP addresses and cookie IDs before delivering your search results.

(FYI, GoogleSharing was developed by security wonk Moxie Marlinspike, who contrary to what you might expect is not a supervillain on the Power Puff Girls TV show.)

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