Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Google Brings Increased Privacy To Searching (or, 'Privacy Theatre')

People, Oct. 18, 2011 was a beautiful day in the history of the Internet; on that day, Google brought true searching privacy to all consumers who are logged in to any Google app (G+, Gmail, Google Reader, G Analytics, hosted apps, etc). As of that day, Google has routed signed-in users to the SSL version of Google (https://www.google.com)

Google did this *for us*, because they love us and want to protect us. Love, protection, caring and privacy are things we all value, and so isn't it just wonderful that Google has given us this early holiday gift? That reminds me, I need to hug Matt Cutts & Avinash the next time I see them, just hug them.

It turns out that the evil-doing data-users have been watching you in Google's house, watching your every move. The ISP's, they have been monitoring your queries and selling the data; the public WiFi snoopers abound, while the owners of routers & trunk Internet lines have their ears to the wires listening to your silent queries.

These stealthy hunters will no longer stalk you and watch your Google searching activity, thanks to Google. Merchants, while you would otherwise henceforth know nothing about the signed-in flock Google sends to thee organically, in its magnificence Google will still provide, via Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to your site for each of the past 30 days.

For the rest of us who make a living from online marketing:

So far the three relevant datapoints I’ve seen are:

1. SearchEngineLand survey: 12.02%
2. Hubspot view across 3644 Hubspot analytics customers: 11.36%
3. Conductor (1.5M visits across 5 websites): 6.5%
4. All 39 individual anecdotes from commenters to SEL, SEOMoz & Hubspot articles on this topic from the past two weeks: 13.27%

I expect the impact will end up being just as large as Google's combined marketshare for Gmail, G+ and all other products from Google requiring log-in. That is to say, potentially upwards of 50% over the next year or two.

Key quotes from Webmasterworld thread on this topic, which as usual is *the* place to be illuminated:

1. "Boom. A dagger through the heart of web analytics." - johnnie (WMW)
2. "To protest everyone could simply bounce all SSL referrals from Google, I dare you... :) (incrediBILL, WMW)
3. "From the look of it for the past couple months Google have officialy declared war on all webmasters." (Donna, WMW)
4. Protects privacy from snooping 3rd parties = ISPs (who all currently monitor queries & sell the data); public WiFi snoopers; owners of routers & trunk Internet lines; any middleman
5. "Privacy theatre" distract the gullible & helpful only to Google (Leosghost, WMW)
6. "The point here is that Google will be able to analyze this data--You won't. It's all about separating you from information that has historically been, and would continue to be yours to evaluate." (loner, WMW)
8. "goog is just an enormous personal data sucking black hole that wants nothing more then the complete and total control of the net....and that means getting rid of ANYTHING they do not control, IE webmasters that run websites. Every single move they do is to erase something and replace it with "goog this" (J_RaD, WMW)
9. "Google's turning off one of ten lights in your room. Enough, maybe, to be noticeable, but not enough to throw you into complete darkness." (rlange, WMW)
10. "you better start diversifying your online revenue channels beyond SEO" (wwconnect, WMW, his post #4376750 on thread is really good)
11. "G has always been pretty "siloed"..the only ones who seem to have access to all areas and know what is going on overall appear to be the lawyers , the accountants and the ruling triumvirate.." (Leosghost, WMW) -like medieval church!!! USE THAT ANALOGY
12. "Make organic an unworkable solution and force people to pay the extortionate prices for adwords. We've seen this again and again and will continue to see this. Push the organic results down, populate the page with goo, and now take away tracking." (shazam, WMW)


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