Monday, April 30, 2007

Search Privacy & Google Personalized Search

Could Google Personalized Search and their Web History feature be the "tipping point" for privacy issues online? The headline on this post links to a BigMouthMedia (UK SEO Company) study about user "Trust" of search engines with their personal data. The SEM company's marketing push (press release) twists the actual perceptions around to seem opposite of the real results when they suggest that users don't trust Google with their personal data (Web History, Search History, Contact Info, Financial details, etc.) when the survey numbers show very clearly that more people trust Google (38%) than trust Yahoo (23%) and trust MSN (21%) with the title "Uncertainty Over Google's Privacy Intentions".

How disingenuous. They put Google in the headline to elicit public interest when their own results show MORE people trust Google (38%) than Yahoo (23%) or MSN (21%). If the press release had been honestly headlined, it might have read "Searchers Trust Google by Two to One Margin over Other Search Engines". Is that not obvious or do people read with that shallowly and with so much disinterest? How does this benefit a search marketing company to discuss this topic just as Google Personalized Search and Web History are launching? Hmmm.

I spoke yesterday about search privacy as it relates to Google after seeing a minor flurry of posts on blogs and search industry forums. I had no idea privacy discussions would balloon because of Web History and Personalized Search from Google. The funny thing is that my personal level of trust in Google with my personal information is probably at about 80%.

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posted by RealitySEO at 8:37 PM


Blogger Andrew Girdwood said...


Thanks for taking the time to notice the press release. It's certainly true that we hoped to invite attention to the survey (which discusses the figures more thoroughly than the press release does).

We did debate what to write about. The headline stat seemed be that %62 of people didn't answer "Yes" to the "Do you trust..." question and so we led with that. In one draft of the press release I was quoted making points very similar to yours. I trust Google. I might not know everything they plan on doing with the data they have about (and have for) me - but I'm sure it will be well intentioned.

11:55 PM  

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