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I'm stepping up my privacy online and have recently switched to Google Chrome, which may be a huge step backwards. Chrome pesters the user to sign in with their Gmail account. When I first created my Gmail account I told the truth about my location and I'm wonder, does Google support APIs that give out my geographical information that's associated with my account? One problem is for work I connect through VPN to networks in different countries and Chrome always asks me do I want to change your default search from to etc. Also on YouTube when I comment on a video it somehow has my real name and I can't find the setting to change this in my Gmail account.

Generally speaking how concerned is Google with privacy?

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"Generally speaking how concerned is Google with privacy?" - be warned that you're going to get very skewed opinions on this one. Different people measure privacy in different ways, and have different ideas about what constitutes a minor or serious violation. – Polynomial Jan 28 '13 at 11:00
Possibly relevant comments from Googlers.… – grawity Jan 28 '13 at 13:18
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've been looking into this recently and, yes, Google are collecting information as you use Chrome but Google claim to collect this data anonymously.

Be aware that 'anonymously' in this context means it is difficult for Google to personally identify you but they can combine some pieces of information to identify the collective activities of an anonymised user through the use of a unique ID. Not all of the telemetry from Chrome uses the unique ID though, some of it is completely anonymous.

There is a a very good description here:

Obviously this is a biased source but I came across it while I was looking at Chrome's privacy controls.


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You are seeing a combination of the Google services functionality of Chrome (which reveal additional information about you and your Google account to Google services specifically and is designed as an ease of use feature which I'm pretty sure can be turned off (though I've personally never bothered cause I like it)). There is also the general, annonymized usage data that Google collects for analytic purposes.

In general, the thing to realize about Google is that you are their product, but at least they are pretty good about giving services in response. The primary reason their business model works is they are the only ones with access to the level of information they have and they like it that way, thus, as far as giving your information to other companies, they really don't want to do that, but what they do want to do is use what they know about you to have other people pay them to market to you.

The way I generally look at it personally is that I'm going to get marketing one way or another, why not let the marketing be through a company that will try to make the ads more useful for me while also providing services to me as a thank you and that has a business aligned interest in protecting my data since that data is the value proposition of their business model. (In addition to being consistent with their privacy policies which as far as I know, they've been good about following.)

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