Individuation and Privacy

With the movement of eyes from analog to digital, and the unpredictability of consumers, a lot of companies are moving towards individuating the customer. That is, tracking the user and collecting their personal information to store, use, and share to provide convenient and pervasive tools and services. From this arises a level of personalized results especially in search. One such player in this field is Google. Able to produce, geospecific search results based on previous searches, and your location, Google faces the challenge of offering personalized service without infringing on your privacy. Here are its privacy rules lifted from its website:

Privacy Principles
At Google, we pursue ideas and products that often push the limits of existing technology. As a company that acts responsibly, we work hard to make sure any innovation is balanced with the appropriate level of privacy and security for our users. Our Privacy Principles help guide decisions we make at every level of our company, so we can help protect and empower our users while we fulfill our ongoing mission to organize the world’s information.

1. Use information to provide our users with valuable products and services.
“Focus on providing the best user experience” is the first tenet of Google’s philosophy. When users share information with us, it allows us to build services and products that are valuable to them. We believe that focusing on the user fosters both the products and privacy-enhancing features that have fueled innovation and built a loyal audience of users online.

2. Develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.
Our ambition is to be at the leading edge of technology, including the development of tools that help users manage their personal information in a simple, accessible manner without detracting from a valuable user experience. We comply with privacy laws, and additionally work internally and with regulators and industry partners to develop and implement strong privacy standards.

3. Make the collection of personal information transparent.
We strive to show users the information used to customize our services. Where appropriate, we aim to be transparent about the information we have about individual users and how we use that information to deliver our services.

4. Give users meaningful choices to protect their privacy.
People have different privacy concerns and needs. To best serve the full range of our users, Google strives to offer them meaningful and fine-grained choices over the use of their personal information. We believe personal information should not be held hostage and we are committed to building products that let users export their personal information to other services. We don’t sell users’ personal information.

5. Be a responsible steward of the information we hold.
We recognize our responsibility to protect the data that users entrust to us. We take security issues seriously and work together with a large community of users, developers and external security experts to make the Internet safer and more secure.

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