Google finds much more efficient way to sell the privacy of its most dedicated users

Combining data from all services makes it more searchable! (And more salable, too)

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Whoever is in charge of privacy-invading lines of business at Google must really regret that sign that said 'Do No Evil.' It's the kind of thing people remember forever and call you on when you inevitably decide a little evil is the essence of good business. Well, profitable business, anyway.

Google announced yesterday that it would change its privacy and data-collection policies so it could track the activity of users on all its services – Search, Picasa, Google+, Gmail, YouTube, etc.

The intent, according to Google's blog explaining itself, is to combine all a user's personal information – including Google searches, Gmail messages, chat logs and everything else – into a searchable database so every search will return results from the user's personal information as well as the Web.

That's convenient from some points of view.

It's so laudable, in fact, that – according to PCWorld – developers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (MySpace?) coded up a 'Don't Be Evil' tool for Google Search as a way of dinging the quality and reach of Google's current social-network-search capabilities.

The tool searches for any topic within a whole series of social networks, not just Google+ and Picasa, as Google currently does.

Here's a little video on it:


Granted, anything involving Facebook is almost guaranteed to violate its customers' privacy in some new and horrifyingly mass-market way. But obviously some people do want to search all their social networks at once, from one place; or at least some social-network developers think they do.

Some social networkers, possibly many, probably do want that level of convenience, in the same way I want Google to keep developing Google Desktop Search, which allows me to avoid organizing the information on my increasingly voluminous hard drives and just search for the documents I want when I want them.

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