Posted August 9, 2007 10:20 am by with 13 comments

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Get your tin-foil hats ready, Google has decided the best way to address issues such as privacy and security is to produce video tutorials.

Their first offering explains Google’s basic privacy policy and is designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about it.

I swear I saw some subliminal messages in there such as “Google can be trusted, Google is your friend.” 😉

OK, all joking aside, the videos are very clear and well made and remind me a little of the recent UPS commercials–the ones with the cool guy and a whiteboard.

P.S. Ok, just one more sarcastic quip–will we see offer a similar explanation on how to search for “chicks with swords?” 😉

  • I actually saw a good commercial last night. It had someone using Ask and all the different tools and things they have, it then asks, can your search engine do that or is it just… and then it zooms in on only the plain bland listings without all the bells and whistles. I probably am butchering the description but it was infinitely better than their retarded “chicks with swords” type commercials.

  • I’ll keep my eyes open for that one, thanks!

  • Did you watch the movie? The part where they explain and demonstrate what they do to the data after 18 months to protect the users privacy? They X-out only the D-block of the IP address and keep the Class-C Subnet information intact.

    That means that there are only 255 possible IP-Addresses the user could have had and the Class-C Subnet information, which they keep, are enough to know the ISP or Company the user was using.

    From the Cookie was also not much removed, except for the preferences. What they remove from the logs is nothing and only good for PR, no more and no less.

  • Oh good, I made it back to reality! They should make a google series on network TV 🙂

  • I feel so much safer now.

    Carsten it’s interesting that earlier in the video they explain how at most they could identify the ISP and company you are using so when they do drop the class D part of the IP they only drop the part that didn’t provide any meaningful information in the first place.

  • Steven, that’s exactly what I am saying. And even if you want to narrow things down to identify a specific person, it’s not too hard to do either. What are the odds that multiple people with the same Class-C subnet IP range can not be distinguished by looking at the logs?

    Almost the same as if the full IP was provided and then of course who the provider of the IP is. If the class-C subnet shows that the user comes from AOL, then the class-c information are as good as the full IP (or not good in this scenario).

    Different story when it comes to Class-C subnets that belong to smaller companies with not too many people accessing the internet.

  • Where’s Adam’s comment accusing you of being misleading?

    You know, the treatment from Google is just so unfair. Some product pages get high profile links with targeted anchor text and some blogs just get angry “you mislead people” posts.

    I guess you fall somewhere in the middle.

    Remember: Only you can prevent Google from getting PageRank. Use NOFOLLOW on all links to all Google properties!

  • Ed


    I’d say the biggest threat to someone being able to view your personal search history is the government (or a court of law). By removing that part of the IP, you cannot identify a specific user. Sure you can draw conclusions and probably come up with a pretty good guess – but nothing that would pass in court, or likely as intelligence data.

    What about, oh, I don’t know, the fact that everything you do on the internet gets routed through the public “air”. The internet is not private and secure.

  • Ed, I hear you and I am also not so naive to believe otherwise, however, I think that the video tries to convince people, that their privacy is protected and that is not the case.

    I am not a privacy evangelist, but I don’t like deceptions.

  • I think I’m in love (with Google)

  • Call me crazy, but isn’t she a dead ringer for Yunjin Kim, the actress that plays Sun on LOST?

  • LOL @ Bushido

  • Wow, you know I never thought Google would need to create video tutorials to market themselves. I thought Google was the king of the internet…