An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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August 31, 2006

Are You Logged In?

I have a little conspiracy theory. First there was the Gmail account: few people had it, many were afraid of it, some would pay money to have it. Then there was the Google account: you already had it if you used Gmail, it wasn't very useful. Then Google started to add some services to Google account: Froogle WishList, the personalized homepage, the personalized search and many more.

Before creating the Google accounts, Google used to rely on cookies to save preferences. The new accounts are a way to save personal stuff and all Google services have something to save. But not everyone visits Froogle Wishlist, or Search History, not many people have heard of Google Spreadsheets or Picasa Web. But everyone has heard of Gmail and a lot of people use it, although it's in beta and it still requires invitation. I think Gmail was created to make people have a Google Account and remain logged in.

What's the most common activity on the Internet? Email. What's the most visited subdomain on Yahoo? Yahoo Mail. People check their mail all the time and won't log out too often.

Now all Google services will migrate to Google Accounts (AdWords and Orkut have migrated; Blogger and Writely are next) and you'll have more reasons to be logged in. But why would Google want to be logged in? By combining the information from all these services, Google can know more about you, improve the search results and ad targeting.

This is just a conspiracy theory that passes through my head everytime I see my username above the search results. I could delete the personalized search service, but I would still be logged in.

If you're wondering about the picture above, Google accounts' codename is GAIA, which is the goddess of the earth, in the Greek mithology.

This quote is from Susan Mernit (September 2004):

"Google's much speculated integration of services seems to have moved forward a step with the further integration of Google Accounts, a control center for those of us who subscribe to any combination of gmail, Google groups and Google search or news alerts.

Apparently, this new feature's been live for a week, but I was shocked when I tried to sign up for a news alert and Google immediately defaulted to my gmail account--not the place I'd planned to put it.

Clearly, the moment when gmail is the underpinning to link all the services together--including Blogger, Picasa, and Froogle--is coming closer., And that is going to make A LOT of people pay attention."


  1. I don't usually go for conspiracy theories, but I like this one. Lets wait and see if it comes true...

  2. Neither do I. Actually I hate conspiracy theories.

    Nice name, by the way.

  3. You do not need an invitation anymore to get a gmail account.

  4. Ew. I use Google, Gmail, Blogger, Google Calendar, Google Spreadsheets, and the Notebook. They know a lot about me! Scary!

    Why are people scared of Google? What about Yahoo! and Microsoft? Aren't they trying to do the same thing that Google's doing? Yahoo & Microsoft's privacy policies are almost exactly like Google's privacy policy. They also provice blogging + photo storage services.

    Should we "spread" our info? Like, use Flickr (Yahoo) for photos, Gmail for emails, and chat with Live Messenger so that our information isn't concentrated in one place?

  5. i think we should have layers of passwords for each division, because i use different passwords as it is at different places

  6. Not a conspriracy theory. Just business.

    The more information [Google, Yahoo, Windows Live, etc] records about a user, the more targeted and effective their advertisements are.

    The more programs and applications they release, the more "adspace" they have to run their messages.

    For example, Google veiws releasing a new program like adding a mini-billboard creator to display their ads (which will be seen by hundreds of millions of people).

    This is why Google services all revolve around content generation (picasa, blogger, pagemaker, etc)...they all rely on the user to upload information that they can use as a billboard.

  7. People who feel scary then it's most likely a doubt in how private they are when using any of those common services online. The thing is, privacy as we can say... An illusion. But on some levels, they are true.

    What makes Google that suspicious is that their mission (as they assume) is organizing the world's information, this of course requires more than just a crawler to index webpages.

    Maybe you're right about the real purpose behind Gmail, but along that, it doesn't seem feasible to me. Gmail is really huge, in its storage space, in its simple yet sophisticated design. A huge weight of energy and ideas have been put. Besides the money of course.

    Google is one-of-a-kind competitor, MSN and Yahoo are 2 well-known portals. The idea of a portal actually never worked for me and never provided a matter of usability. They do offer Email, free blogs, etc... And Google is just yet another one, but with its own style, that's the thing I think.

    It's not about keep you logged in, it's about keeping you bound to what they offer. OK, bound maybe sounds rude a bit... They basically want you stuck with their stuff!

  8. we shouldn't be so scary..what is really sure - google conspiracy theory won't kill us (like bush' conspiracy theory). The only reason is because google needs the users.. and yes a central user management is great for the users... i hate login and login again

  9. Kuaför Malzemeleri says
    conspiracy theories everywhere even on google. but anyway i like google. internet usage has 2 part before google and after google.

  10. You're trading information about you and your searches, documents, mails for the convenience of the almost-good-enough web interface that runs everywhere (as opposed to a fat client that runs on a specific PC).

    1) "they" say they're interested in the data only insofar as it relates to providing a better way fo delivering ads to you, and eyeballs to advertisers.
    2) and if that doesn't reassure you, then DON'T SIGN UP.

    BTW, regarding item 1 - If I do have to see advertising on the web , I'd rather it was directed and specific to me and my needs (i already have perfectly serviceable and adequately sized penis thank you...)

  11. Sounds like the logical thing to do, converging all the logins, it used to be a mess. I remember having multiple logins and pw/s just for a series of news alerts I had, Thank god they merged them! Also, isn't it mYthology?

  12. Huh huh. I have several online identities (3 main ones for different purposes, all with their own gmail account- real name for serious stuff, soleille for all the fun internet stuff and another one for stuff I want to keep private and absolutely not associated with me) - I'm really careful at keeping them separate, but it's harder to remember that being logged in into an email account can associate every search query with your real name- a very scary concept, but it isn't evil, just demands a bit more effort on your part.

    I actually like google's targeted ad stuff, mostly it is right on spot and useful, but I always need to remember not to do the anonymous-account-related queries with my full-name-address logged in somewhere :O)

    What I hate about all the google services is that when you want to access GDocs or calendar or whatever, the "remember me" box is ticked by default- *I* remember to uncheck it, but working in an internet cafe I see a lot of people who leave boxes like "save password and log me on automatically" on messengers on public computers ALL the time...if you want to "do no evil", I think you should protect your users from their own stupidity sometimes.

    That said, most privacy fiascoes are self-made through carelessness and lack of data hygiene.
    It's not a google account conspiracy that enabled an IT employer to confront an interviewee (a few years back) with images projected on the wall during the interview: one of him drinking beer, the next one of him barfing!
    The young man in question did get the job, btw, but I bet he learned something about protecting his privacy and NOT posting embarassing photos through an account that pops up when you search for his name!

  13. I believe google does want to know more about us! Why not, then they can figure out what we want and create it thereby cementing their place as the number one search engine in the world. But I want to believe there is no evil purpose behind it....I hope :-)

  14. i use gmail and gmail drive. there is most useful application. thank you google :)

  15. thank you so much. gmail is most useful driver.. nice..

  16. single just saves time theres no harm in it, its all on google's servers either way and saves having a dozen or so logins


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