Google’s New Privacy Policy

The company that’s credo is “Don’t be Evil” sent an e-mail to all its users on January 28th, 2012 notifying them of its privacy policy changes. Like everything that Google does, the form was simple to read and well constructed:

…but what are these changes and what does it all mean?

To start at the beginning, we need to breakout what privacy means. Often times it’s used interchangeably with security, but in fact, they are neither separate nor the same thing. Privacy is the result of security–security is everything a company does to maintain your information is private.  Google is assuring its users that this part has not changed and user information is still safe.

What has changed is that user data will now be merged across all of Google’s systems, meaning that your search, e-mail contact, YouTube views etc. behavior will now be used to create one profile. For the company, it means that it can return even more customized search results (better ROI for its advertisers as well).

For the user: because the information is so detailed, Google can now tell who you are even when you use different accounts and its Google+ service requires real names. Looks like its time to get rid of those alter egos.

Google’s response is that they have been collecting this information all along, so it’s not any information that they didn’t already have. Nonetheless, the company is still facing backlash, users citing it as creepy. I can’t help but agree because I once I worked on a project about diapers and for the next month, all I got were banner ads about diapers.

To get around some of their information storing:http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy/tools.html

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Shopping Under the Influence (SUI)

Ever wonder why some online sales start at 9pm? What an arbitrary time you must have thought to yourself while surfing your favorite daily deal site during your lunch break. Yet, when you got home at 9pm, with one too many happy hour drinks swishing around in your otherwise empty stomach, that sale looked rather attractive to you.

According to the New York Times, people who shop under the influence are a demographic group that marketers are now trying to hone in on. Special sales are created to lure you in when your inhibitions are lowered and spending money seems less difficult.

What surprises me about all of this is: what took marketers so long?  Drunk shopping is not a new concept and neither is online shopping, and we all know that online shopping is less judgmental drunk or not.

Five years ago, the morning after a particularly good (or rough, depends on your perspective) night out, a of mine friend found a receipt for an iPod and a samurai sword sitting in his inbox, both of which he was having shipped home, despite being 7,600 miles away at college.

This segues into my next point, as marketers learn to navigate this terrain, consumers will also have to be careful. Because let’s face it, buyer’s remorse while hungover is not fun.

Would You Friend Your Unborn Child?

Advertisers in Brazil for condom brand Olla thought they were being creative when they made up Facebook profiles of unborn babies to match some young Brazilian men selected for the campaign. The Olla creative team named the babies after these men such that Alex Melo would be friended by an Alex Melo Jr.  In their “son’s” profile was a link to Olla’s website.

 

Can you imagine the reaction of a single person upon receiving the friend request from insert name, Jr.? Beyond the fact that Facebook doesn’t allow ad campaigns such as this, it’s plain creepy. As people become better at dodging commercials and blocking out ads, marketers have to find more creative ways to reach their consumers. However, the line between creative and creepy is beginning to fade.

Let’s get real. Your unborn child wouldn’t friend you anyway; that’s completely uncool.

Why Facebook Timeline is Better

Facebook timeline is a better user experience

Facebook made its timeline version available to all users in mid-December 2011. I have had the version for a while now thanks to some great instructions I found online, which has given me an interesting perspective on this whole situation. At first, I responded like many other people, thinking that it was just creepy, but then I began to like it. Here’s why:

  • Room for creativity: one of the best new features is the banner. It’s the first thing noticed and makes it more personal.
  • Dynamic: the old way of displaying information was segmented and boring. If I wanted to see an earlier photo, I’d have to click into my photos and scroll.
  • Tells a story: the timeline captures the story of people’s lives. It’s only creepy because the experience is richer, but the information already existed.

My Facebook Page

Why don’t people like it

I hate to be so cliché, but people don’t like change. Psychologically, we are comfortable when we are familiar with things because our brain has to do less work, and less work is good.

With its IPO looming, maybe this is a sign that Facebook is growing up. According to a study commissioned by Mashable, ads are now noticed 63% of the time vs. 43% prior, and more ads noticed means more ad money. Oddly, many company fan pages have yet to switch over.

Some Optimism to Start Off the New Year…

I have a friend who simply loves life like no one else I’ve met. He has this 5-year-old-excitement for all things he loves. I’ve always admired his unabashed enthusiasm, and here’s what I’m channeling it towards:

  •  Inbound advertising: co-creation has become a buzzword in the advertising/marketing world and that’s a good thing; it means  campaigns that people want to include in their lives.
  • Open source communities: web startups created from user communities are popping up everywhere, personifying the web.
  • Ultrabooks: end of 2011 saw the introduction of the Acer Aspire, ASUS Zenbook, Lenovo U300S and the Toshiba Protégé and there’s more to come, following the trail that was set ablaze by the MacBook Air.
  • Apple’s iPad 3 and iPhone 5: rumor has it that the iPad 3 will come out sometime in Spring while its mini-me, the iPhone will release iPhone 5 in the Summer to early Fall.

Bring it on 2012!

Dell XPS M1330 Laptop Obituary

Dell XPS M1330

My laptop was pronounced dead three weeks ago. It collapsed at our home after the motherboard crashed and stopped taking a charge. For three years, it dutifully kept all my music, writing and returned search results without judgment.

A little dramatic you might say, but this is the second time I’ve had a laptop die a catastrophic death. Though I protected each laptop with up-to-date anti-virus software, made sure it got defragged every 3-6months and kept it lean as possible with constant disk cleanups, each one died suddenly. Well, now it’s shame on me. Here’s what I learned:

• Back up (often): externals are great, but cloud storage such as Dropbox allows you to access your important files anywhere you have internet access.
(I have a Transcend external. It works on both PCs & Macs.)

• Let go: do I really care about those papers I wrote in freshman English? No. With Netflix, Hulu+, Grooveshark, Spotify etc., you don’t need to buy media.
• Get real: when I bought my last machine I upgraded everything, which is why my laptop gave the impression that I was a gamer. But did I need it? No.

Now I’m searching for a new laptop. The ultra-slim Lenovo U300S looks amazing, but I’m holding out for its chunkier cousin, the Lenovo U300.

Augmented Reality Really Augmenting Your Reality?

What is it? Augmented reality is a term used to describe computer generated sounds, videos, graphics or GPS data used to enhance the real world environment.

The one I am talking about here is sound and graphical images that generate when your camera recognizes a “barcode” and uses your background as the setting.

Now this concept isn’t new, GE was using this type of technology to generate interest for its Smart Grid product in 2009, but it’s back again because Starbucks has recently introduced an app that recognizes pictures on your paper cup or bag and creates a holiday scene out of it. We all know that Starbucks coffee sells because they have a culture that people buy into, but is this app really adding to the coffee experience?

The most brilliant application I’ve seen of augmented reality is Tissot’s, when they gave customers barcoded bracelets so that their customers were able to try on watches without having to enter to the store.

However, in its current use, I can’t help but feel that augmented reality is like 3D television*; it never fails to make an appearance every few years, but there’s no real demand for it.

* First patent for 3D television came up in 1890 (motion picture film made its debut in the early 1860’s).