Google in June quietly deleted a clause in its privacy settings that said it would not combine cookie information with personal information without consent
Google has changed the way it tracks users across the internet so that it can now link people’s personally identifiable information from Gmail, YouTube and other accounts with their browsing records across the web. The company had previously pledged to keep these two data sets separate to protect individuals’ privacy.
As first reported by Propublica, Google quietly updated its privacy settings in June to delete a clause that said “we will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent”. Continue reading...
Webpass radios on a San Francisco building. (credit: Webpass)
Google Fiber today said it has completed its acquisition of Webpass, a wireless Internet service provider that will figure prominently into its plans for deployment of high-speed Internet. But the Alphabet division is not giving up on fiber, saying it will use both wireless and fiber networks to compete against cable companies and telcos.
Google Fiber revealed its plan to buy Webpass in June, and the company said in an announcement today that Webpass "is now officially part of the Google Fiber family." The Webpass site has been updated to call the service "Webpass from Google Fiber."
"It’s been impressive to watch Webpass evolve from a boot-strapped startup to an established category leader with tens of thousands of happy customers in five major metros from San Francisco to Boston," Google Fiber President Dennis Kish wrote.
Pop-up ads are annoying on desktop, but even more frustrating on mobile devices when they sometimes take over the browser. Google wants to fix that: in a blog post, the company announced that, starting next year, websites with intrusive advertisements will be punished and may be pushed down in search results.
Essentially, Google wants search results to favor sites that have the best information and the least annoying advertisements that cover up that information. "While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google," the blog post says, "content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result."
Google claims these intrusive ads and interstitials create "a poorer experience" for users, particularly on mobile where space is limited by smaller screens. It's not wrong—sometimes pop-up or pop-over ads that show up on mobile websites can take up the entire display, forcing you to view them while furiously trying to find the "X" to close them. After January 10, 2017, sites that show these kinds of ads (which include content-obscuring "please subscribe to our newsletter!" pop-overs) "may not rank as highly" in search results.