Google Mashup: Video Ads, Privacy, Online Safety - InformationWeek

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3/28/2008
03:58 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Google Mashup: Video Ads, Privacy, Online Safety

Google, as always, has been busy. Here's a roundup of some recent developments. Video ads are now being served in search results (although I couldn't find any); Google says it is really, really concerned about your privacy; and the company outlines steps for people to protect themselves.

Google, as always, has been busy. Here's a roundup of some recent developments. Video ads are now being served in search results (although I couldn't find any); Google says it is really, really concerned about your privacy; and the company outlines steps for people to protect themselves.According to CNET's Elinor Mills, " Video ads for select keywords are now showing up on Google and Yahoo search sites." I tried to duplicate her results, but was unable to. I don't know if that's a factor of my browser, platform, or whatever, but her experience was the following:

I typed in "smartphone" on Google's search site and saw a hot link that said "watch commercial" under the second sponsored listing on the right side. Clicking on that link opened a small 2-inch-by-2-inch window below the listing that automatically played the 34-second ad. I could pause the video or hide it.
Sounds fairly user friendly and not too intrusive. Have any of you noticed the "watch commercial" links in your results? If so, what are your thoughts?

Moving on, there's been some stink on the Internet lately about Google not providing enough privacy to its users. Enough noise was made that Google felt it was appropriate to respond. Here is what it said:

Because we're strongly committed to protecting your privacy, we want to present our privacy practices in the clearest way possible. ... With that in mind, today we're announcing a revamp of our Privacy Center. The new Center is a one-stop shop for privacy resources, with various multi-media formats aimed to help you further understand how we store and use data, how to control who you share your data with, and how we protect your privacy. We hope this new Center will help you make more informed privacy choices whenever you use Google products and services.
In other words, Google is saying that its legalese is so dense, they've tried to put together videos to help explain it to you as if you were 5 years old. It strikes me as unnerving that Google's privacy policies are so difficult to understand in written form, that Google doesn't trust people to be able to figure it out on their own. Of course, you have to be more than mildly interested in privacy if you are going to dig down to the Privacy Center to learn about it in the first place.

Last, Google wants to protect you and your family. It has created a resource center for families to learn more about the Internet and how to prevent themselves from becoming victims. Google writes:

As part of these ongoing efforts to provide online safety resources for parents and kids, we've created Tips for Online Safety, a site designed to help families find quick links to safety tools like SafeSearch, as well as new resources, like a video offering online safety pointers that we've developed in partnership with Common Sense Media. In the video, Anne Zehren, president of Common Sense, offers easy-to-implement tips, like how to set privacy and sharing controls on social networking sites and the importance of having reasonable rules for Internet use at home with appropriate levels of supervision.
So there you have it. Some nice and tidy updates from all that is Google.

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