Google steps up its privacy game, launches Good To Know

Summary: Google just launched Good To Know, a simple and growing guide to Google’s tools and information about privacy and safety online.
With today’s news about Google’s new search encryption default, it’s easy to miss Google’s new privacy and personal data control resource center, Good To Know.
Google quietly published Good To Know yesterday.
Good To Know aims to inform internet users about what’s going on with their Google data, and guide users to tools they can use to control how their data is used. Within limits, of course.
If you wonder what Google thinks it knows about you, and what you can do about it, you’ll want to give Good To Know a close look.
It was announced that the main Good To Know campaign will be an ad campaign in the UK in conjunction with the UK’s National Citizens Advice Bureau, yet the Good To Know site is aimed at all Google consumers worldwide.
Interesting Timing for Google
Good To Know is an interesting thing for Google to do right now. Google has definitely had its share of privacy blunders, and ongoing issues about privacy and seemingly pathological issues around anonymity remain.
Still, no other company of Google’s girth is interested in drawing attention to itself around user data use and privacy.
And I think that’s part of why Google has done this: to set themselves apart. For instance, Apple doesn’t have a Chief Privacy Officer. It should. Every other company that makes widgets and clogs bandwidth these days has one so it’s no surprise to see Google step up its game - and it’s really quite shocking (conspicuous?) that companies like Apple are falling behind in this arena.
One example in which I see Google taking a shot across the bow of its competitors with the privacy and transparency push is in Google’s Good To Know explanation of its +1 button, in comparison to Facebook’s “Like” button.
We all know Facebook is a privacy and transparency nightmare, with plenty of “ignore the man behind the curtain” rhetoric and action. The “Like” button was recently called out for tracking people across the web whether or not they were even logged into Facebook (which the company denied and then admitted was happening). Facebook is now being sued for alleged violation of Federal wiretap laws in relation to the cookie in the middle of it all (though I think it’s doubtful that the charges will stick).
On Good To Know the +1 button has its own little section, and beyond that it links to the Google+ privacy Policy with a fuller explanation of the button’s actions; notably stating that the button does not track users across the web.
A Great Resource For The Privacy Novice
The resource is a rich privacy control resource for people that don’t have technical knowledge (read: most people). If your mom doesn’t understand the difference between malware and Tupperware, or thinks that phishing sounds like a relaxing weekend distraction, just send her the link already.
They did it right: it covers areas privacy nerds of all levels will appreciate, while the simple language makes it a great entry-level primer for anyone. And it looks like the privacy team is still busy stacking it up daily with tips and links to tools.

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