google game over digital sign

Google has managed to kill their best product with a variety of changes they’ve made within the last few weeks. They introduced Google Search + Your World, a tool that when you use their search engine, you have the option of seeing what your friends have shared on the subject.  Then they began pushing Google+ posts into their search results at the sacrifice of actually relevant search results. Watch this video by Focus on the User that explains how this compromises the tool and demonstrates a Firefox extension called Don’t Be Evil (developed by Facebook and Twitter engineers) that allows you to override what Google is doing. Then they rewrote all of their privacy policies into one and upped their tracking of users across multiple websites creating a what they call an improvement of service with no way to opt out.

They were already under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation for their monopolistic business practices. When they released Google Search + Your World in mid January 2012, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with the FTC and Google+ was added to the investigation.

Even though they only have 65% of market share on search according to Bloomberg, the phrase “violation of anti-trust legislation” is being used continuously. They aren’t technically violating anti trust laws with 65% but that’s not where they will lose the war. They are going to lose on user loyalty. The number two search engine, Bing by Microsoft, only has 14% market share but when users fully comprehend how much their privacy is being completely thrown away, I believe they will run to the next best competitor in droves. Maybe their hold will only change a few percentage points but the damage has been done. Privacy is rarely my largest concern but the magnitude of your personal shared information being rebroadcast in such a public way, has even me ready to reassign my default browser to the company that shall not be named. That’s how I felt when I talked about the company that brought us Windows. They had a shade of Voldemort for me but now I feel the evil has shifted.

I’ve had several upset people ask how jump ship so here are step by step instructions on how to delete your Google+ profile.

What is your biggest concern about Google’s changes? Or do you even care?

[Image via Stock.xchng]

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