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Google Screenwise Program Will Pay You To Reveal Your Surfing

 6:18 pm on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google Screenwise Program Will Pay You To Reveal Your Surfing [eweek.com]
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is willing to pay online surfers to browse the Web and share data about their travels with the search engine giant.

The company has begun soliciting users for its Screenwise program, in which it will pay Chrome users in Amazon gift cards to surf Websites. Users must install a lightweight browser extension, which will pass along data about Websites they visit via Chrome to Google.

"What we learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone," Google wrote on the Screenwise landing page. Participants must 13 years old or older, have a Google Account and, of course, use Chrome.

Participants will receive a $5 Amazon gift card code for simply installing the Screenwise browser extension. Users can earn another $5 Amazon code for every three months that they continue in the Screenwise program, totalling up to $25 total credit in Amazon codes.

Wow, that's quite a change. Would you reveal your surfing habits for a few dollars?




 5:11 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

choosing to make a small financial transaction with a large number of users, for legal reasons

For $25/yr in Amazon credit GOOG gets:

1. Absolution from privacy regulators

2. Marketing data to sell

3. More Google Chrome users

4. Potentially more signups for "Plus" and other G services.

You need a Google Account to take the deal, (which means they can now consolidate your private data obtained from the browser and entered into all Google properties) -- and apparently would need to sign up with Amazon to use the credits.

That would give the "partners" (GOOG and Amazon), complete demographic, surfing habits AND financial info on the victim, errr "participant".

I just went to the "Screenwise Panel" signup page to read the details of the offer, (I was wondering if they will even allow the users to apply more than (1) of the $5.00 credits to a single purchase -- thinking they are just sleazy enough to force the users to buy (5) items from Amazon to even use the whole $25.00...

Interestingly -- it appears signup for the program is at-least temporarily suspended. The page says:

To be eligible to join, you must be 13 or older, have a Google Account (or sign up for one), and be ready to use the Google Chrome browser.

We appreciate and are overwhelmed by your interest at the moment. Please come back later for more details.

- [google.com...]


 5:47 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

So they are getting lots of signups? Lots of people do not value their privacy.

It reminds me of an experiment someone did, asking people for permission to take samples for DNA in return for hamburgers (or something similar) and lots of people took them up on it. Actually they did not want the DNA, only test how much people values privacy.


 5:56 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google has been trying hard to get it's hands on social media data like Facebook.

This tool is an excellent way for Google to access Facebook data via the paid surfer.

Who knows what it's collecting or it's intent.


 9:47 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

This tool is an excellent way for Google to access Facebook data via the paid surfer

It will end up like MAD Magazine's Spy v. Spy or Wiley Coyote v. The Roadrunner. One drops an anvil, the other sets up a spring-loaded teeter-totter...


 10:41 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Staffa - firefox may be accessing G if you have Safe Browsing turned on: it uses G's safe browsing service. Can't recall if it's "attack" or "forgery" site-checking.


 11:18 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thank you dstiles, you are quite right.
I turned off safe browsing and G stopped from frantically calling home

Thanks again


 5:48 am on Feb 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Involuntary loss of privacy and freedom is a very real issue in 2012. This attempt to collect it voluntarily could very well be to mask what is being done with the involuntary kind.


 4:55 pm on Feb 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Update: It dawned on me that although I won't volunteer to waive my privacy my neighbors might do it for me. If my neighbor signs up for the program and installs the Google hardware will it pick up signals coming from my house too? My wi-fi? My cell signals? perhaps even sound itself?

If you remember Google street view cameras were 'accidentally' picking up wi-fi details in Europe and storing wi-fi data obtained such as emails.

So the question is - does someone who joins the program become a beacon for their entire neighborhood? Are we supposed to create a dead air space out of our home if we don't want to be monitored by Google (and other companies who may follow suit)? Has this question been answered (or even asked) anywhere yet?


 5:29 pm on Feb 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

well if im not mistaken googs android devices already pick up wifi data and transfer it back to the mothership.

but yea i wouldn't put it past them to create some kind of trojan horse device.

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