googlemonitoring

Privacy-minded folks won’t like this: word on the street is that the Internet giant Google is readying a new app for iOS and Android devices that will reward people for tracking their mobile habits and patterns.

Dubbed Mobile Meter, the software has reportedly been conceived to give Google a much deeper insight into how owners of smartphones and tablets use their devices.

This is especially eyebrow-raising given Apple’s tight control of its ecosystem. In order to persuade people into installing Mobile Meter on their devices, the search monster will ostensibly reward people in exchange for their mobile trends. More tidbits right below…

The Mobile Meter program is said to be voluntary so you’ll have to opt-in before you start collecting those rewards.

Engadget has the scoop:

Engadget has learned that the company is readying a new mobile service that compensates users if they allow their mobile behavior to be monitored.

We’re told that the project, known internally as “Mobile Meter,” utilizes iOS and Android apps that intelligently monitor app usage and web browsing habits and send the data back to Google.

The article stopped short of detailing what the rewards might be.

Although a Google spokesperson wouldn’t comment on “rumor and speculation,” it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Google’s intelligence on desktop users is far more superior compared to their knowledge of rival mobile platform users such as those on iOS.

Now, Google already collects some anonymized data from third-party apps which incorporate its AdMob and AdSense advertising technologies. Furthermore, it gains far more valuable insights into iOS users by analyzing usage logs generated by its iOS apps such as YouTube, Gmail and Maps (by the way, you can opt-out from stats sharing anytime via in-app settings).

But not all apps use Google’s mobile advertising technology: Apple is gently pushing registered iOS developers toward using its own iAd solution. And because iOS isn’t a probe in your pocket like Android is, it’s really not trivial for Google to collect rich data on iOS users’ mobile habits when they’re not using the company’s iPhone and iPad apps.

Although Google will “anonymize all of the information it collects to ensure the privacy of its panelists,” I smell a potential privacy scandal in the making.

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 16.18.13

In related news, Google’s feeling the heat over its newly-updated Terms of Service to allow your Google Account profile image to appear not only in Google products, but in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts across the web (see below).

In what essentially boils down to selling users’ endorsements to advertisers, Google is hoping to counter Facebook, which for at least a year has been showing personalized social ads featuring your friends’ photos.

shared

These display ads are called Shared Endorsements and won’t apply to users under 18.

Google’s pitch is interesting:

Feedback from people you know can save you time and improve results for you and your friends across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising.

For example, your friends might see that you rated an album 4 stars on the band’s Google Play page. And the +1 you gave your favorite local bakery could be included in an ad that the bakery runs through Google.

Only the people you’ve previously agreed to share content with can see your endorsements.

The new policy and Shared Endorsements are slated to go live on November 18, but don’t worry – you can always opt-out here.

  • abdullah575

    WTF ???!!!!

    • Jo

      indeed

  • Trick

    No info on the most important topic…what’s the rewards…

    • jgr627

      100% agreed…..if the reward is unlimited lte data I might just sign up

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Don’t bother. No matter what the rewards will be they will not be equal to the price of what little privacy we have left.

  • CA$H

    wouldn’t even trust google with my inside leg measurement

    • sivkai

      And can I ask why? Hope you’re not just jumping on the anti-Google bandwagon.

  • Micaiah Martin

    Ha ha so I see that the NSA is training us like pets?

    • sivkai

      No. Just no.

      Why don’t you take your tinfoil hat off and go outside?

      • Micaiah Martin

        NO! I shall protect my precious brain from the aliens who seek to control us!!! 🙂

        all joking aside here is what this application does.
        Takes the information from your device. Allows it to be available to other people besides yourself….

        I’m not saying that it would be impossible to keep all your privacy to yourself, unless you don’t own any electronic device and live on the north pole. I’m just saying this app is quite blunt in say “I want some of your information, but we both know I can take it without you knowing it or just take it by force, but we want to make you like us taking your info. So we are going to give you treats if you do what we say”

      • sivkai

        Nice speech. You just forgot one point…this is an opt-in program..so if your paranoia gets the better of you and you believe everything on the net is part of an NSA conspiracy, all you need to do is not tick the box that says you want to opt in.

        Simple.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Seriously? It might be opt-in but if the NSA or government comes to Google tomorrow and asks them to bug / back door XYZ and pretend the conversation never happened (a gag order) Google has no option but to comply in fact if they didn’t comply not only would they not be abiding by the law they’d also be breaching their own terms & conditions and privacy policy which say they’ll hand all your data to a government or government controlled entity. Sure Google could refuse the orders and be a hero like Twitter but just like Microsoft and the other companies co-operating with the NSA and government they wouldn’t do this. I’m afraid the days of “Don’t be evil” are long gone. For example did you know Google hide their original privacy policy which stated they wouldn’t track you at all?

      • Jo

        “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
        ― Benjamin Franklin

        That is all.

      • sivkai

        Right. All you have done is place a quote, as admirable and truthful as it may be, that is totally out of context.

        I am not disputing the actions of NSA, I am disputing the ridiculous comment above that implies that Google is secretly scheming with the NSA.

      • xSeriouSx

        Don’t live in denial, ask Google for Snowden’s NSA documents on the Prism and X-Keyscore programs. Apple is no different…it’s optional (and somewhat tempting) to get the iPhone, but once you do, you’ve opted in for some fun stuff…

      • sivkai

        I respectfully disagree. Tech companies, whether Apple or Google, are sensitive to the privacy concerns of their customers – they have little interest to hand their data, therefore, to the NSA. Where and really, if, this has happened, you can bet that Google/Apple were forced to give information.

      • xSeriouSx

        Totally agree, it was probably part of the agreement to build a tech company in the US; have an backdoor open for “legal”/”security” reasons.

      • sivkai

        I imagine you are right. The fallout if these companies refused to comply with the NSA could have been quite severe, perhaps, and this might be a stretch, government “sanctions” against the company disguised as bigger taxes, less preferential treatment, etc. All hypothetical but my point is, I don’t think anyone can blame the NSA’s surveillance on tech companies. They are complicit yes, but they are only guilty by association.

  • Blaqheart

    Sure I’ll wh0re myself out for rewards Google…where do I sign up. ::Rolls eyes::

  • Patrick

    screw google, if they do that i’m going to delete my google profile just keep the youtube one so i still get paid for my vids

  • Jo

    If you don’t want your info tracked by Google just say you’re under 18!

  • chris125

    They already do this so why not get some sort of compensation for it. Seems like a win to me.

  • xSeriouSx

    The devil will always give you a chicken and take a cow…

  • BoardDWorld

    Oh so this is googles bend over app. I remember when all the naive folks defended them in this youtube video: watch?v=L-vGo49Ki2s

    Funnily enough even the google glasses are relevant.

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Well i have nothing to hide.. So what are the rewards?