July 31, 2014

Google Weaves Privacy Tools Into Holiday Shopping Ritual

Love it or hate, it’s the holiday shopping season again, and with that comes the need to hide presents and protect one’s wallet from thieves.  Luckily (or a little bit opportunistically), Google’s got a range of privacy tools ready to help people achieve their goals.

On the Google Public Policy Blog, Will DeVries, a policy counsel, explained this afternoon, "If I’m signed into my Google Account and have my Web History turned on, I get more personalized search results and can see my previous search terms.  But I can also delete those gift-related searches in case my wife gets nosy.  I can even pause my history so my search for ‘Hawaii vacation’ isn’t ever recorded."

Then DeVries continued, "But that only helps hide my search terms; what if I want to cover the rest of my online tracks?  To hide those shopping sites from curious eyes, I use Google Chrome’s Incognito mode, which keeps any websites I visit or downloads I make from being recorded in my browser’s history.  Goodbye Williams-Sonoma.com!"

Finally, DeVries issued a reminder about the YouTube Unlisted and Private video options (in case you want to upload people’s reactions to your gifts), and posted a little info about encryption and safe browsing.

Granted, there are many other ways of dealing with these situations, but at least Google’s tools are available for those who choose to use them.  And just about anything’s better than dealing with the real-world shopping mobs that form this time of year.