Is Apps for Government Ready for Prime Time?

Google received U.S. government security certification for its Apps for Government products on this week, a milestone for the search giant whose quest for government cloud computing contracts has been marred by its failure to meet deadlines for converting the City of Los Angeles email system.

April Fool! Parodies on Google or is the joke on us?

Google’s April Fool joke this year – renaming its search site “Topeka” – was a self-congratulatory disappointment compared with some of the funny self-parodies of previous years, for instance, here or here. The mayor of Topeka in March announced a month-long renaming of Kansas’ capital city to “Google, KS” as part of the city’s bid […]

Trust the Census; worry about Google

Census Day – April 1 – got me thinking about the data the Census Bureau compiles about me.  Google’s partnership with the bureau got me thinking about who has the most data and who poses…

Will Google’s PowerMeter give power to the people or spy on them?

Sometime soon, my refrigerator could be spying on my late night ice cream binges. Right now it’s just a large frost-free appliance that doesn’t talk back. But when it starts to network on the Smart Grid via a meter and Google’s PowerMeter application, will Google be analyzing my high-cholesterol snacks?

Now’s Your Chance To Spy On Google

The Google Dashboard tool is also limited to information gathered on users when logged in to Google.  It
doesn’t give consumers access to information that might be tied to
individual consumers in other ways — such as searches associated with
individual computer IP address or cookies. That means it falls short of
being a true privacy tool, according to privacy rights advocacy group
Consumer Watchdog. "The
dashboard gives the appearance of control without the actual ability to
prevent Google from tracking you and delivering you to its marketers,”
said John M. Simpson, a spokesman for the nonprofit organization. "It
doesn’t reveal anything about what is at the heart of what I call
Google’s ‘black box’ — what is associated with your computer’s IP


Google Dashboard Provides Too Much Info And Yet Not Enough

Indeed, privacy advocates, such as John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, argued Google’s gesture with Dashboard was just a straw man and that if the company really wanted to help it would allow users to prevent search information from being logged or to prevent Google from tracking a user’s online activity while surfing the Web.

Google Releases Dashboard Privacy Tool

The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog,
which has been critical of the amount of personal data Google stores,
called the dashboard a small step in the right direction. "If
Google really wanted to give users control over their privacy it would
give consumers the ability to be anonymous from the company and its
advertisers in crucial areas such as search data and online behavior,"
spokesman John M. Simpson said on the group’s Web site. "The Dashboard
give the appearance of control without the actual ability to prevent
Google from tracking you and delivering you to its marketers."

Google Beats Microsoft in the E-Mail Battle of Los Angeles

Google won the battle with Microsoft for the right to move Los Angeles’ 30,000 municipal employees to its e-mail system, knocking out Novell’s GroupWise platform for the $7.25 million contract. However, the contract comes with a caveat. Google must compensate the
city if its e-mail service is breached and data is stolen. The Los
Angeles Council voted to add the penalty provision 9-3. Consumer
advocates applauded this motion. "Los Angeles residents cannot be sure the city’s confidential or
sensitive data will be secure," said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate
with Consumer Watchdog, "but at least they know there will be a penalty
if security is compromised. It’s essential that this project be closely
watched to ensure that Google keeps its promises."

L.A. needs assurances before moving to Google’s ‘cloud’

Frustrated by an out-of-date email system that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s spokesman Matt Szabo calls "Pac-Man-era technology" the City of Los Angeles is considering entrusting…

Consumer Watchdog Praises Google For Considering New E-mail Security But Asks Why It Took Internet Giant So Long To Act To Protect Users

Santa Monica, CA — Google should be praised for agreeing to offer
improved security for users of its online services like Gmail, Consumer
Watchdog said today, but the non-partisan, non-profit consumer group
asked why the the company waited so long to act.

Google Updates PageRank, Rolls Out Web Elements

However, Google has also run into some high-profile controversies over
the past few months. In April, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Consumer
Watchdog publicly questioned the settlement between Google, The Author’s Guild
and the Association of American Publishers
(AAP) over the search-engine giant’s growing
digital library. In particular, Consumer Watchdog argued that the settlement, which gave
Google the same terms as any theoretical future competitor, deserved to be
placed under government review.