Google I/Oh… about your privacy…

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: We trade our privacy for convenience — and some are more comfortable with that than others. The day after Google’s I/O developers conference where it unveiled many a new or enhanced offering, here’s some of what our privacy antenna is catching.

There’s personalized mapping that integrates Google Earth — you can start with a view from space and drill down to photos inside a building, Mashable notes — as well as search history and other data that the company has collected about users of its myriad services. “The more you interact with the map, the better it gets,” the company says. It’s basically a map that follows you around, which might make some people paranoid. But Quartz calls it “honest.”

On the same note, Google talked about “the search engine of the future.” Google Now has already provided glimpses of that future, with the continuing goal to “give you useful things without you ever having to ask,” Google exec Amit Singhal said Wednesday. Having Google Now remind you that you need milk when you get to Safeway, one of the examples he gave, of course means that Google knows when you are at Safeway. (MIT Technology Review has more on Google using maps and apps on its road to search’s future.) And yes, other companies offer similar types of location-based features.

Google also announced the new Hangouts app, a messaging service that reports say will replace Google Talk, Google+ Messenger and Hangouts. In the blog post by Google exec Vic Gundotra, he touts “conversations that last” as one of the new app’s top features. This means conversation history — which will include an archive of photos you’ve shared — will be saved by default, but users have an option to turn off the history. Perhaps related to this feature was a change (dated May 15) in fine print for Google Talk: The off-the-record setting can no longer be the default on chats, although users can still choose to take individual chats off the record.

 

Photo of Google CEO Larry Page by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

 

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