Privacy vs. User Experience

The best piece I’ve read arguing for the other side of the “Google violates your privacy” debate is this piece from Dustin Curtis, written back in October:

Apple is going to realize very soon that it has made a grave mistake by positioning itself as a bastion of privacy against Google, the evil invader of everyone’s secrets. The truth is that collecting information about people allows you to make significantly better products, and the more information you collect, the better products you can build. Apple can barely sync iMessage across devices because it uses an encryption system that prevents it from being able to read the actual messages. Google knows where I am right now, where I need to be for my meeting in an hour, what the traffic is like, and whether I usually take public transportation, a taxi, or drive myself. Using that information, it can tell me exactly when to leave. This isn’t science fiction; it’s actually happening. And Apple’s hardline stance on privacy is going to leave it in Google’s dust.

There’s much I disagree with in Curtis’s piece, but it’s well-worth reading. I think he’s wrong, and that his fundamental mistake is conflating the collection of information in order to provide useful context-aware services with the collection of information in order to sell targeted advertising. But maybe he’s right. His is certainly the best articulation of the pro-Google perspective that I’ve seen.

Sunday, 7 June 2015