Google Faces Criticism Over Privacy Policy

The Week’s Top Story:

  Google has been making some major changes lately and this week was consumed with news of Google’s attempt at streamlining their properties and narrowing their focus on key products. The most controversial this week was Google’s announcement was about the consolidation of its privacy policy into one universal document to suit all of its’ properties. This would give Google permission to ‘follow’ users that are logged into their Google accounts as they move across Google+, Gmail, Youtube and any other Google website. This hits Android users particularly, as they are almost always signed in to their Google accounts in order to download apps, Gmail and chat. This move comes after some question about Google’s search integrity for including Google + profiles in search results, which was announced last week. On that note, the creation of a Gmail or Google+ account now requires that a user first have a Google account.

  In another effort to consolidate, Google will be shutting down another slew of products including Picnik, Social Graph, Google Sky Map and Google Message Continuity. The fate of some seems to be permanent, however Picnik will likely be integrated into Google+ after the site shuts down in April.

  Finally, Google’s new search algorithm will rank sites lower if they have too many advertisements.

Newsworthy Tidbits:

  Co-CEOs of RIM Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have stepped down, leaving former COO Thornstein Heins as the new CEO.

  Apple Q4 results indicated record-breaking numbers with $46.3 billion in revenue, selling 37 million iPhones and 15 million iPads.

  Facebook is looking to partner with Vevo and host their video content exclusively.

  Anonymous publicly threatened to take down Facebook on January 29

  Just when we thought SOPA and PIPA legislation was gone, an international law called ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was signed by the European Commission (including the US) this week. The law, which is similar to SOPA but with more reach, still needs to be passed by the English Parliament and affects the use of any copyrighted information whether online or offline. We encourage readers to read more about ACTA.

Be on the Lookout:

  HP announced that open source rollout for webOS will take place in September.

  Google Music will be adding functionality for Android users to download songs from their online music library, whether they uploaded the music or purchased it through Google’s music store.