Google Updates Its Privacy Policy

google-locks-privacy-featured You may have noticed Google's Privacy Policy has been updated as of March 31, with a red letter "Updated" call-out the site's home page preceding Google's Privacy & Terms link. This is the first time the company has updated the policy this year, following an update in December of 2013. There were only two updates last year, one occurring on June 24 and the other on December 20. Google posted a "Comparison" page to outline the most recent Privacy Policy updates, along with an archive of updates dating back to June 9, 1999. "As you use our services, we want you to be clear how we're [...]


German Courts Follow French Ruling & Order Google To Block Max Mosley Images In Search Results

Google Europe Google has lost another case in the Max Mosley lawsuit, this time in Germany. According to a Reuter's report, a German court has ruled Google is responsible for distributing scandalous pictures of the former Formula One president, and is ordering the search engine to block links to the images from appearing in search results. The lawsuit stems from a 2008 case Mosley won against the British tabloid News of the World for publishing photos of Mosley engaged in a sex party with prostitutes. Last year, Mosley filed a lawsuit against Google in France and Germany to keep the images from appearing [...]


An Easy Way To Check What Referrer Data Google, Bing Or Yahoo Pass To Your Secure Site

secure With the three major search engines migrating their default searches to secure search, over SSL/HTTPS, marketers and webmasters want to know what referrer and analytics data will be passed to them and what won't. The majority of Google is secure search, Yahoo yesterday defaulted all searches to be conducted over SSL, and Bing is currently testing SSL search for those who opt in. Testing Referrer Data From HTTPS Search To HTTP URL The default protocol for passing referrer from an HTTPS URL to a non HTTPS URL is to not pass any referrer data at all. Both Yahoo and Bing comply with that, whi [...]


Google Remarketing Ads Found To Violate Canadian Privacy Law; To Revamp Ad Review System By June

google-canada-featured Google has agreed to several concessions after an investigation by Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner found Google in violation of Canada's privacy rights for the use of sensitive health history in remarketing campaigns. The investigation began last January, when a man complained that his personal health history was being used for ad targeting purposes.  After searching for and visiting sites related to medical devices for sleep apnea, he was retargeted with display ads for those devices when he browsed the web. The Commissioner's office has agreed with the man that Google [...]


Google’s Latest Transparency Report Shows Rise In Content Removal Requests From Russia & Turkey

google-transparency-report Google announced today it has released its eighth Transparency Report since 2010 when the search engine began providing data on government requests to remove content. According to the latest Transparency Report covering the first half of 2013, Google saw a "significant" increase in the number of requests from Turkey and Russia, with Russia's requests to remove content more than double the number of requests the country filed throughout 2012. For the US, Google says it saw a 70 percent increase in the number of content removal requests compared to the second half of 2012. The site receive [...]


Google Maps Makes Exception & Speeds Up Process To Replace Image Of Shooting Victim

Google maps icon Google Maps is making an exception to its process for reviewing image removal requests, and speeding up the actions needed to replace a satellite image of a 14-year old shooting victim. Following a story broadcast on KTVU-TV, a CNN affiliate in Oakland, California and a report on CNN.com, Google claims it will take approximately eight days to remove the image of the 2009 crime scene involving the slain teenager. According to an update on the story from CNN.com, vice president of Google Maps Brian McClendon released the following the statement: Our hearts go out to the family of this young [...]


Google Claims Government Requests For User Information Have Increased Over 100% Since 2010

google-transparency-report Google released an updated Transparency Report today, claiming government requests for user information have increased more than 100 percent since it began posting transparency reports in 2010. According to Google, this is the eighth update to its transparency report in the last three years. Google said the climb in requests is in part a result of an increase in the number of governments wanting information, "More governments have made requests than ever before. And these numbers only include the requests we're allowed to publish." The top three governments requesting information between [...]


Google Says European Law Does Not Support Mosley Lawsuit To Censor Search Results

Google Europe Yesterday, Google posted a plea on their Google Europe blog asking European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley. The lawsuit requests that Google build a filter to identify and block what Mosley claims is unlawful content. A report on Bloomberg.com claims Mosley's lawyers filed a suit in a French Court, asking Google to create filters that could identify and remove content referencing "Nazi-themed" sex parties in association with Mosley.  A lawsuit has also been filed in Hamburg, Germany. In response to the lawsuit, Google's associate general cou [...]


Privacy Groups Want Judge To Reject Google’s $8.5 Million Settlement Over Search Privacy Lawsuit

google-legal-240px Last month, Google agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund over a class-action lawsuit by two searchers who accused the company of transmitting their personal information to third parties without their consent or knowledge that the information was being shared. The final court approval of the proposed settlement was scheduled for today, but five US privacy groups have asked the court to reject the preliminary settlement agreement. Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse wrote a joint l [...]


Report: Google’s Not Provided Reached 49% & Much Higher In Technology Industry

Not Provided BrightEdge has released a report showing that for the 8,400 brands they tracked over the last quarter, 49% of the queries collected did not provide (i.e. not provided) search query data due to Google's secure search. 49% was the average, in fact, it is higher for the technology industry. BrightEdge said that "56% of traffic to computer, electronics, software and technology sites is coming from Google secure search." On the low end, such as in the entertainment and consumer services sites, the percentage of secure searches is 46%. Guess what, it is even worse for search sites. For my sear [...]


Rejoice! Safari Is Once Again Providing Google Referral Information In iOS

apple-safari-featured Since last September, people using Safari on iOS devices and searching on Google have appeared to publishers as if they came directly to their sites, not via Google. Now, the problem has ended, with iOS now apparently having been upgraded to support the "meta referrer" tag. No, this doesn't solve the "not provided" issue, where Google itself may strip search terms used to find a site from the referrer passed to publishers. However, at least people should now appear as if they came from Google Search generally, rather than as if they were "direct" visitors. With iOS 7, Apple's new iOS upd [...]


Google Agrees To Settle Lawsuit Over Passing Search Queries To Third Parties

google-legal-240px Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that stems from two searchers accusing the company of sharing their search queries with third parties without user content or knowledge. As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund, with that money going to seven groups/organizations on the condition that they agree to use the money for public education and/or research related to protecting online privacy. In October 2010, Paloma Gaos sued Google because the company "transmitted user search queries to third parties without knowledge or consent [...]


Duck Duck Go’s Post-PRISM Growth Actually Proves No One Cares About “Private” Search

duckduckgo-featured Look out, Google! Duck Duck Go is on the rise, posting a 50% traffic increase in just eight days. Is this proof people want a "private" search engine, in the wake of allegations the PRISM program allows the US government to read search data with unfettered access? Nope. Google has little to worry about. People don't care about search privacy, and Duck Duck Go's growth demonstrates this. Don't get me wrong. If you ask people about search privacy, they'll respond that it's a major issue. Big majorities say they don't want to be tracked nor receive personalized results. But if you look at [...]


Mystery Solved: Why Mobile Safari Searchers Appear To Come “Direct” To Sites Rather Than Via Google

Mobil Safari Icon Since September, people using Safari in iOS 6 and searching on Google have appeared to publishers as if they've come directly to their sites, as opposed to having been driving by search. At last, the reason behind the Dark Google cut-off of data has been found: mobile Safari doesn't support the "meta referrer" tag. I know. Publishers who have been closely watching this situation are probably thinking that the reason was already known. It was Google Secure Search, and how Google's change to that back in October 2011 to withhold search terms means anything using that system will have sea [...]


Governments Across The Globe Are Making More Requests To Remove Content From Google Services

google-transparency-report According to a new Transparency Report released today, Google received 4,096 government requests to remove 42,249 pieces of content during 2012. The purpose of Google's Transparency Reports is to record the number of worldwide government requests to censor content on Google services, and offer insight into the amount of censorship happening across the globe. The latest report demonstrates an uptick in the number of requests to remove political content, as well as the number of areas where the requests originate. According to Google's announcement, "In this particular time period, we [...]


German Privacy Regulator Fines Google Over Street View Data Collection, Calls For Tougher Financial Penalties

street-view-car-featured A fine of 145,000 EUR (roughly $189,000) is trivial for Google. But that's close to the maximum fine allowed by German law ($150,000 EUR). The fine is being imposed on Google for violations of German privacy and data protection laws stemming from the so-called "WiSpy" episode in 2008 - 2009 in which Google collected private emails and other personal data via its Street View cars and their efforts to map Wi-Fi locations around the world. Google was fined 100,000 EUR by French authorities for the same violations in 2011. These amounts are insignificant to Google, which just posted quarterl [...]


Google Consolidates Ad Preferences Managers, Now Called Google Ads Settings

Google has been rolling out updates to its Ads Preferences Manager, where users can adjust their account settings for personalized ad delivery, or Interest Based Advertising. The page is now succinctly called Ads Settings. The new Ad Settings page features a cleaner interface, but the main theme is consolidation. Now, instead of separate Ads Preferences Managers for signed-in ads on search and Gmail, ads on YouTube, and ads on the Google Display Network, there’s a single page containing them all. Users can opt-out of personalized ad serving on search and Gmail and on the Google Display [...]


Will [Not Provided] Ever Reach 100% In Web Analytics?

not-provided-featured With the news today that Chrome is moving to secure search, marketers may be wondering about the larger picture of using search data in Web analytics. The searches people do that lead them to a site is valuable data to an organization. What other data source do we have that gives us direct access to our customers' wants and needs? Sure, we can ask them, but customers can lie. Or choose not to answer. By looking at exactly what visitors have searched for, we can learn a lot about who our customers are, what they really want, and if we're providing it to them. Search marketers have valued [...]


Google Is Hiring Someone To Find Ways To Make You Want To Search While Signed-In

google-sign-in-signature-featured Google is hiring a new product marketing manager for search with one of the key goals being to find ways to get people to sign-in while they search. The job description says: As Product Marketing Manager within the search growth team, you will be responsible to developing plans, creatives, campaigns and programs to increase the number of user's signed in. Brian Ussery spotted this first and posted a screen shot of the job posting: As you know, the number of "not provided" terms listed in Google Analytics because Google is blocking the search query parameter from analytics programs [...]


Study: 39% Of Google Search Referrers Now “Not Provided”

not-provided-featured It is just over a year since Google began encrypting search by default for signed-in users. A new study finds that as a result, 39% search-related traffic from Google to web sites now has search terms withheld. Optify conducted a study over eleven months with 424 web sites, involving 17,143,603 visits and 7,241,093 referring keywords, to see how serious the "not provided" issue is. "Not Provided" is what Google Analytics shows in cases where Google no longer reports a search term due to encryption (other analytics programs may use other phrases). The study found that 39% of terms ar [...]


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