Re: [newtech-1] Creepy Google Issue

From: Steve S.
Sent on: Sunday, March 17, 2013 7:47 PM
The following is not specific to you so don't take offense please.
It seems this thread has been hijacked by some people who have taken the original post out of context.  If you want to discuss advertising create another thread, this is not that thread.
I am not asking anyone if 'it's right' that Google has coupled my wife's search history to my own Google Now results.
I am fully aware and comfortable with Google using my search and location history to provide relevant real-time results and feedback.  Most people on this list who use Google services are aware (or should be) of the privacy issues.  I'm sick of hearing regurgitated comments like, "OMG, how are you surprised Google does that?"
I believe this issue is entirely different.  Firstly, I'm asking if anyone knows how Google is able to couple my wife's search history into my own profile.  Secondly, I find it particularly 'creepy' because while I fully expect (and am at peace with) Google using my search/location history to provide targeted advertising and such.... I am not comfortable with them sharing that information with specific individuals unless I explicitly allow them to.
Imagine that instead of my wife's location search history being shared with me it's instead an older daughter, friend, co-worker, ex-lover?  The relationship I have with Google is between us, not between Google, a friend/wife/boss and I.  If I ask Google to link my account to someone else, great.... have at it Google.  That's not the case though.
I'm simply asking..... how does Google do it and how do I or for that matter anyone else decouple that behavior?
Steve Sebestyen
On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM, David Wechsler <[address removed]> wrote:
Yes - there are really 2 discussions here - how they do it and whether or not it's right.

I can't speak to how, but I am surprised everyone is so "creeped out." As a few posters noted, these are all businesses. And, generally speaking, these businesses provide free services to consumers in return for data mining, analytics and advertising. I am thrilled that these folks make money on me in ways that are complimentary to my life and in turn allow me to use their technology for free.

Perhaps they should also offer a "premium" fee-based service? How much would you all pay a month to have an "analytics/advertising" free experience on each site? And I not proposing this in jest - I would actually be really interested to know if people on this list would pay a subscription fee for Google, Facebook, etc in return for privacy.

On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM, Steve Sebestyen <[address removed]> wrote:
My wife uses a Droid Bionic and I use the Samsung GS3.  She was on Google's search site using the stock browser.  We are not on a shared plan (mine is paid for by my company, hers is personal).  The local search was done in Stamford, CT.
As far as my activity during her search(es), there was none.  My phone was idle (I was actually reading) while she ran her searches.  I use Chrome on my GS3 and since it's integrated into the OS it's always logged in.
I wasn't able to reply earlier as I've been out doing things.  I just returned home a short while ago and attempted to recreate the issue.  I was able to do so repeatedly.  Using my wife's phone I searched for a nearby high school, supermarket and landmark.  All of her searches ended up in my Google Now window as mapped destinations.... I don't like that one bit.  I ran a few searches with both of our phones on our home WiFi.  I then ran another series of similar but different searches on her phone while it was disconnected from our WiFi AP.  That eliminates our cable modems shared IP as the vector.
I'm left with a lot of questions still.
If anyone else can recreate this and comment that would be appreciated.  Considering how 'disconnected' my wife is from the social web I'm curious as to how and why Google is linking her behavior to my account.

Steve Sebestyen

On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM, Ivete <[address removed]> wrote:
I'm having a hard time accepting that this happened based on your description of two gmail accounts that are only casually linked (by sharing a calendar and emailing each other). If that were the cause, I would expect to see all kinds of weird stuf every time i use Google products, because of my equally-casual connection with several other gmail users. And I definitely dont' see stuff like that.

Were you able to replicate the behavior? 

I'd love to see if I can replicate it myself, so asking more detailed questions of your setup inline:

This morning my wife grabbed her phone to do a search for activities at Chelsea Piers. She followed that up with another inquiry for hours at a local mall.

What kind of phone? What app was search done in? 

Five minutes later I launched Google Now for stock updates and what do I see?

I assume this was on your phone, not hers, and it's a modern Android. (please correct if I'm wrong) Are you on a shared plan with her phone?

I then followed up with a search. As I began the query with our local town it auto-completed it with mall hours.

What is the small town's name? (just want to try googling it as me and see what the auto-complete is) 

Were you still on your phone at this point? If not, what browser were you in and if it was chrome, were you logged into your gmail account?

Ivete Tecedor

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Dave Wechsler

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