There’s a story in the news about Google pushing its “Google Plus” social networking, to get more sites to allow people to log in using their Google identities. Just a nice feature? No, not really. It’s for advertising and revenue purposes. It’s nothing new, Facebook already does it:
Since 2008, Facebook has been able to gather massive troves of information about its users’ activities even if they are not on Facebook because many popular apps – such as Spotify’s music streaming service – allow users to log in with their Facebook identity, which results in data funneled back to the social network.
Google already owns YouTube, and has been pushing people to sign up (or as they call it, “upgrading”) for Google Plus in order to comment or log in.
Now, I do have a Gmail account, and I used what was Google Docs for a while, mainly when I was coordinating a blog series. Outside of that? I don’t need or want Google Plus. I don’t have a Facebook account, either. The core reason is that I don’t need them, and have minimal interest in sharing my activities with the internet in general. I also have another reason: I’d have to give up being “Norbrook.” That’s annoying. When you have 20-some years of going by that moniker on the Internet, it’s not something you want to just shed. It’s not that my “real name” is a secret, it’s actually more “anonymous” than Norbrook. Seriously, I have one of those distressingly common names. Back in the e-mail list days (many moons ago) or on Usenet, I posted under my real name. It wouldn’t even change my behavior, and there are still people with burn scars who will attest to that fact.
But what annoys me is the constant pushing to sign up for it, even when I’ve very clearly – several times – said “No.” In fact, I get annoyed by the constant “are you sure you don’t want to change your log-in?” on various Google-owned sites. It goes along with the constant requests for my “mobile phone number?” Just in case I somehow forget the password. As a security measure. That I don’t have a cell phone, and while I use a “strong password,” it’s not something I’m likely to forget are among the reasons I keep saying “no.” But, I still get asked. Again and again. What part of “no” didn’t they understand? All of it, apparently.
Yes, I recognize they have a business model, and having all my personal information and being able to track me allows them to sell more advertising and “demographics” to people. I just don’t want to give it to them. At some point, maybe they’ll get the hint.