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.