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Monday, July 18th, 2011, 7:35 am

Google Targets People

Google Plus (G+) and Google Profiles look very similar and almost identical. Is Google merging them? It seems possible. It actually goes deeper than this. Google has become a major content network and not just a gateway to information. Not anymore anyway. Will Google use people’s personal data to push ads? Well, it’s already doing this. The transaction is hosting in exchange for changing one’s perception on behalf of advertisers, but the real problem is the proprietary nature of G+).

“As of 07/01/2011,” say a lot of older profile pages, “Groups profiles have been disabled. Your profile information will be available for export from your profile until 11/01/2011. This change will not affect the nicknames you might have chosen for yourself to participate in groups. It will only affect the custom profiles fields, such as your photo, location, and occupation. More details are available here.” The cited page says: “Beginning July 1, 2011, you will not be able to change your Google Groups profiles. You will be able to download the contents of your profile until November 1, 2011, at which time your Google Groups profile will be deleted.” Just deleted, eh? Unless Google Groups is shutting down, it seems possible that a migration route to G+ might be offered with an ultimatum of sorts.

The date is very close to that of G+. Might it be the reason for change? Groups profiles were ripe to abuse by trolls who abuse the scoring system (Google allows the same user vote an infinite number of times and thus game the system). The key question is, will Google try to convert many users to people with a G+ account, without going through conventional routes? Other than privacy invasion, there is not much to be gained from such networks. The way Google treats personal information matters because Google is… well, Google.

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