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Privacy Google Social Networks

Google's New About Me Tool Is the Anti-Google+ 54

An anonymous reader writes: Google has launched a new tool called About me that lets you see, edit, and remove the personal information that the company's services show to other users. Google confirmed to VentureBeat that the feature started rolling out to users this week. Google's various products and services (Gmail, Hangouts, Google Maps, Inbox, Google Play, YouTube, Google+, and so on) sometimes ask you to share certain personal information. These details are then shown to other users who interact with you or search for you. Until now, all of this was stored in Google+, assuming you created an account. But Google+ is no longer a requirement for Google's services, and so the company needs a new solution, and ideally one that isn't public by default.
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Google's New About Me Tool Is the Anti-Google+

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  • by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @02:57PM (#50916573)
    "The opposite of truth is falsehood. The opposite of an irrelevant Google service is another irrelevant Google service."
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @03:03PM (#50916611)

    If you ever pissed off google by violating a rule or policy, they could (and did in some cases) disable the google+ account. Which had the effect of killing all your associated google devices.

    So the risk was too great to actually use google+ and associate it with my devices. I hate facebook, but if they ban me, I'm only banned from facebook. Google needs to firewall physical devices from any chance of ban problems due to offenses in other google services or it's not worth the risk of using them.

    • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @03:39PM (#50916843)

      Here's an example:
      Google+ Account suspended so now they can't use Youtube (really an unrelated service).

      https://productforums.google.c... [google.com]

      The more services tied to your google+ account, the greater the risk of it being suspended.

      https://productforums.google.c... [google.com]

      My Google Wallet account was suspended today. Google Support tells me that my account won't be reinstated, due to violations of terms of service. They won't tell me specifically what I violated, and refuse to acknowledge my questions. I've used GMAIL for over 10 years. 2004 I signed up for the BETA for my first Google account. Today I'm suspended. I don't even care about the Wallet honestly, I just care about the Play Store. I can no longer purchase applications from the Play Store. With Wallet suspended, how can I even use my Android device now? This is insane.

      http://tech.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]
      From a Google VP.. while google+ suspensions only effect services requiring a google+ account, he goes on to say "Of course there are other Google-wide policies (e.g. egregious spamming, illegal activity, etc) that do apply to all Google products, and violations of these policies could in fact lead to a Google-wide suspension."

      That's a big 'etc."

      • Visa chargeback for any app you paid for that no longer works

      • I just care about the Play Store. I can no longer purchase applications from the Play Store

        For me, this has been a really good reason not to buy any applications from Google Play. I set up a new throw-away account for each device to download the free apps that I can only find in Google Play, but most of what I run is now from F-Droid. I've donated to a few of those projects, because I know that their apps won't randomly stop working at the whim of a third party.

  • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @03:08PM (#50916637)

    In step 3 (the advertising preferences thing), if you try to modify what it says your google profile is for advertising purposes, it asks you to create a google+ account for the privilege.

    • The whole site is plagued with issues.

      For instance, as a non-Google Now user who was apparently opted-in to it at some point without my knowledge, when I get to step 3 in the Privacy Checkup, I get a rather unhelpful popup that simply says "error" when I click the "Turn these cards off" button, even after disabling all of my ad-blockers or anything else that might be preventing it from talking to one of their servers.

      If you go to "Manage Activity" for your YouTube history, it gives you a link to "Get Starte

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @03:09PM (#50916645)

    >> Google's various products and services (Gmail, Hangouts, Google Maps, Inbox, Google Play, YouTube, Google+, and so on) sometimes ask you to share certain personal information.

    Google starts collecting everything it can about who you are and what you do in all its products and services unless you explicitly go down into the basement and yank seventeen different files from a bathroom with a sign that says "Beware of the Leopard."

    FTFY

    This whole "you need to spend an hour on our site hoping you've tweaked your privacy settings correctly, at least until we change everything again in three months" is BS. As the family tech guru, I've gone from teaching people how to use non-IE browsers to how to install the best possible Ad/Flash/tracking-blocking software I can find on all their personal computers and devices.

    • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

      Did you check the site? I was able to review (and update) all my settings in about 5 minutes. Maybe you're complaining about facebook's privacy configuration?

    • I'm with Fwipp there, did you actually visit the site?

      Mine shows my name, my birth date (hidden), my sex, and where I have lived previously (shared...who cares if they know I have lived in Albuquerque NM, it isn't like I was a star in Breaking Bad...).

      If someone is looking for my name, they are likely looking for me, as there aren't too many in the world with my name.

    • As the family tech guru, I've gone from teaching people how to use non-IE browsers to how to install the best possible Ad/Flash/tracking-blocking software I can find on all their personal computers and devices.

      If they know that little about computers, the chances are that all they want is email and web surfing, and if that's true, you can easily set them up with Linux and cut your support time by 90%.
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I figure that it's a trap. They're trying to get you to verify your identity. Sure, they'll remove it from the PUBLIC domain but that doesn't mean they'll be removing it from their data base.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @03:15PM (#50916689)

    What good is a tool like that if you can't edit everything? I have a birthday listed, that is wrong - I can make it private but I can't fix it.

    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      Look at it this way: do you really want google to know your birthday?

  • But Google+ is no longer a requirement for Google's services

    I've used Google's various services for a good many years, and have steadfastly refused to use Plus. So aside from the core Plus features themselves, exactly what "services" required signing up for Plus to use them?

    Now, if you say that I can get back the usable classic version of Google Maps instead of this worthless abomination they replaced it with... That alone might get me to finally sign up for Plus!
  • by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @03:49PM (#50916909)

    If you care about privacy then why are you putting personal information on there to begin with?

    Sure it's a "requirement" last I checked but they've never said anything about my 5 different accounts all full of obviously fake shit.

    I find it so strange that when I was in school it was hammered into us from the moment we stepped into the computer lab to never use even the smallest details that could personally identify us. Our instructor even went around asking for our passwords regularly, if we gave it to her we were in for a 5 minute lecture on password security and had to change it.

    By the time I left we had personal email addresses made for us with our first, middle and last names that we were required to use if we wanted email access in school (Those who did use them had endless problems with their emails not being sent or locked out of their accounts if the email contained anything remotely vulgar or offensive, regardless of context).

    • If you care about privacy then why are you putting personal information on there to begin with?

      If you care about privacy, why do you use the Internet or have a computer or phone? If you care about privacy, why don't you stay locked up at home? If you care about privacy, it is your right to live in a small closet.

      We had this right of not being on video 24/7. That can't stand, as much as we'd like. We'd still like to draw up a few guidelines.

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        If you care about privacy, why do you use the Internet or have a computer or phone?

        Nice false dichotomy there. I hope Poe's Law applies here.

        The internet has a hell of a lot of really great things on it. Getting to 90% of those things doesn't require disclosing any personal information; getting to 90% of what remains only requires disclosing as much as I want to (for example, writing this post on Slashdot).

        Of the 1% remaining that truly requires knowing at least some IRL identifying information (ba
        • I hope Cole's law applies here. It involves this cabbage, see...

          Your misplaced anger amuses me. "Come to the Dark Side, Luke!" ...thing is, it's not possible to avoid ubiquitous surveillance, that's part of what you should pick up out of the "ubiquitous" part. That's already done and is not going away. It's getting stronger by the minute. We would like to perhaps have some customs that say what is right. Those won't last, either, they'll be obsolete by the time you've tweeted them on your tw_t account, whic

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @05:22PM (#50917445)

    Despite Google saying otherwise, it is still impossible to comment on YouTube without first creating a Google+ account.

    • My Gmail account was converted to a Google+ account 3 Weeks ago. I never asked, never agreed to anything, never clicked anything. Searched 3 days to find a way to quit Google+ their is no Quitting Google plus unless i quit my gmail account. Nothing Google says can be trusted anymore, they broke my trust and will never get it back. Honestly i am really close to cutting the Internet cord I'm Getting tired of internet companys or OS makers telling me what i have to do or allow on MY hardware so they can sell m
  • Tell that to YT comment box.

  • It's got my name wrong (an alias I used years ago setting up a junk email account), I graduated from MIT, work at Skynet, and my location is earth. In other words, 1 in 4 things they know about me is actually correct, although saying I'm on earth isn't much of a stretch.
  • I have been able to edit all this stuff all along. They just changed the look.

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