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Google Asking for Permission to Access Location Information
gouri




msg:4074334
 3:11 pm on Feb 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am using Google with Internet Explorer and I am getting the following message in the SERP:

Google would like to have access to your location. The Google Toolbar will periodically use the network to keep your location up to date.

To the right of this, they have the buttons Share My Information and Don't Share. There is also a box that you can check which says Remember for this site.

-------

This is the first time that I have seen what I have written above and I am not sure what it means. What does this enable Google to do? What is Google trying to figure out? This information is being requested by Google itself.

This is coming up every time I do a search from Google.com and it is on every page of the SERP for the particular search.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

 

dstiles




msg:4074565
 8:51 pm on Feb 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you actually have Google Toolbar installed? If so, worry anyway. :(

Could this be part of their new personal preferences scheme?

JoeSinkwitz




msg:4074582
 9:16 pm on Feb 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I saw this too Gouri; I think this has to do with web history / personalization being disabled, but haven't tested across multiple boxes yet.

icedowl




msg:4074605
 9:37 pm on Feb 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I saw this too, okay'd it and went to maps and set my general location there. It has enabled what looks to me as something new in the toolbar although it might've been there for a while. There is a page about it in the toolbar help at: [google.com...]

gouri




msg:4074664
 11:51 pm on Feb 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you actually have Google Toolbar installed? If so, worry anyway. :(

Could this be part of their new personal preferences scheme?


I do have the Google Toolbar installed.

steveb




msg:4076913
 12:00 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I disable personal search.
I deny them access to my location.
I try to prevent them from showing me maps set to my location.

Yet I still get served with a local map, and idiotic business results for my search term (which has no locality to it, [sunlight] for example])... and the normal results return a few local businesses in the top 25 that have never been in the top 500 before for this very broad search term.

It's absolutely ridiculous.

whitenight




msg:4076921
 12:47 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

What does this enable Google to do? What is Google trying to figure out? This information is being requested by Google itself.


Well, well, well.
This is the geolocation/IP datasets specific relocation SPYWARE I've been talking about.

See End of Jan Updates thread [webmasterworld.com]
and Feb thread for more info [webmasterworld.com]

With their hand CAUGHT in the cookie jar, NOW it seems they want to ask with "oh so innocent" looking
Share My Information and Don't Share buttons to
"Cover Your Arse"(CYA) after the fact.


Ask yourself -
* Who are they sharing YOUR INFORMATION with?
* Who WILL they share your informtion with in the future, after you've already given consent?
* WHY are they SPECIFICALLY asking for THIS "exception" when they've already spent the last 3 years geo-locating your SERPs without your consent?


HINT
- it's NOT because Gorg has suddenly found "religion" and ethics.

It's because they are using this DATA in FAR MORE INSIDIOUS ways that would require EXPLICIT CONSENT for future legal worries.

Think about it!

Shaddows




msg:4076925
 1:04 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok, logical question then. Is it toolbar users who are getting Caff?

And any data on yhow many people (in percentage terms) use toolbar?

whitenight




msg:4076934
 1:35 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it toolbar users who are getting Caff?

Not all of them.

And if this message is appearing to ANY gorg.com users than it basically bypasses the NEED for people to use or download the Goog toolbar, see?

Right now, I see it specifically targeting demographic groups.
Who exactly?
Only one I have pinned down with certainty is US Armed Service members.
odd this group was immediately targeted, isn't it?

People:
under 35?
Who spend more than $5,000 online annually?
who spend more than 2 hours a day online?
etc., etc.

That's the data that Gorg needs explicit permission to mine and sell to the highest bidders, domestic, foreign, benign and malevolent.

And of course, to paraphrase Gorg CEO, [webmasterworld.com]
"Anyone who does NOT want their information tracked and sold, if obviously an Enemy of the State, right?"

randle




msg:4076969
 2:49 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Google Toolbar


Get that thing off your machine. As a recovering tool bar user I can assure you that the addiction to look at purposely distorted green pixels will go away in about two weeks. Without this spoon fed fixation you will actually become a more productive worker.

It doesn't make their invasive data collecting go away, but at least your removing their open pipe line to your computer.

piatkow




msg:4076980
 3:06 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Steveb's comments make me think carefully about making more use of Bing. I haven't experienced this myself (UK) but generally I know the businesses where I live and will pick up a copy of yellow pages rather than wait for the laptop to boot up if I need something. When I do want a search engine it is for the stuff where I don't live.

icedowl




msg:4077077
 5:30 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

* WHY are they SPECIFICALLY asking for THIS "exception" when they've already spent the last 3 years geo-locating your SERPs without your consent?

Previously they've never been able to figure out my location closer than 500 miles away (I'm in northern Nevada and I've seen them think I'm anywhere between Los Angeles and San Diego, with an occasional east coast location tossed in). For example, if I happen to be looking for a local "big box store" location, it does me no good for them to show me a map of somewhere I've never even heard of. It seems to me that they've finally figured out that trying to help based on an IP number wasn't/isn't doing anyone much good.

All I want is to see pure, unadulterated, and accurate search results and even more so when I'm not looking for something to buy and just want information. That shouldn't be too much to ask for.

Robert Charlton




msg:4077158
 7:41 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

To check some effects of personalization, I have one browser where I have the Google Toolbar installed, haven't flushed cookies in quite a while, haven't disabled web history, etc etc... but with no log-in to a Google account.

Google has tried fairly aggressively to get me to let them access my local information, and while I've refused, it's very clear that they're use cookie data, IP data, and possibly even ISP connection data to pinpoint my default location fairly accurately.

I'd posted a while back that they had improved map box results quite a bit and postulated IP data. This was before they were using search history or had announced personalization as the default, but not before they were using cookies or IP data.

Local searches are where I feel that Google has thus far focused most of its visible personalization efforts.

Just before they announced that personalization was the default mode, Google also tried to get me to use their Searchwiki, which I haven't had time to test. I'm fairly sure that this is another area which may, over time, affect "non-personalized" results (if there is such a thing), or at least to provide correlative data. I haven't had time or inclination to even go near their Social Search.

For regular plain vanilla searches, non-geo based, I've been running some tests on this same browser setup, frequently repeating many non-geo searches for the same queries (that might logically be searched daily)... and then revising them via various patterns to bring different sites to the top... and I have had no indication whatsoever that these searches and revisions are thus far influencing the serps, either what's sent to me or what's sent to anyone else.

Robert Charlton




msg:4077171
 8:05 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

PS to the above. I noticed the much more accurate local results in Sept 2009....

Google's local map results on generic searches now much more accurate
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3985243.htm
[webmasterworld.com...]

Personalization as a default was announced in December.

gouri




msg:4077212
 9:07 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I disabled personalized search (unchecked My Location in Tools) because I did not want to always see the message from Google that I mentioned in the opening post appear in the SERP. Before that it was not disabled, it was enabled.

I know this might be a bit of a stretch but do you think that by disabling personalized search it could affect the rankings for websites that you are working on from that computer? I noticed that I went down for certain keywords that I was ranking for the day after I disabled personalized search.

Would disabling personalized search sort of anger Google and could what I asked happen?

johnnie




msg:4077232
 9:53 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WOW! Google actually ASKING?

cwnet




msg:4077275
 10:51 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like mentioned above: I do not need Google (or any search engine) to find stuff in my neighborhood...right now i am in Germany and looking for a service in Spain where I will be next week...and because i am in Germany right now, Google is showing me German websites..not helpful at all! But of course, this crap explains why Google records an increase of more then 50% in search volume...bad results mean more searches!

Shaddows




msg:4077277
 10:56 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know this might be a bit of a stretch but do you think that by disabling personalized search it could affect the rankings for websites that you are working on from that computer? I noticed that I went down for certain keywords that I was ranking for the day after I disabled personalized search.


I very much doubt it. What it might do is reverse the own-site bias that you had unintentionally signalled previously.

cwnet




msg:4077278
 10:58 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh, and while I am at it. If you (your website) is collecting user data from European Visitors you may want to get used to the idea that you MUST ask for for permission to do so (all the way down to IP number, browser version and even which page was requested - e.g. asking users to give permission to track their visit via Google Analytics). The European Union is working to make opt-in the legal standard for ALL collectible user information.

Shaddows




msg:4077293
 11:09 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

The European Union is working to make opt-in the legal standard for ALL collectible user information.

Unworkable. Either every ecom is dead, or TOS / T&Cs will cover it. You can't have a basket without cookies, and its Best Practice to have a basket (inc delivery costs and taxes) before collecting user info.

Also, it will seriously dent many (most?) internet business models. How many ad-supported sites are there? How many could survive without TARGETED ads?

steveb




msg:4077353
 1:32 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

"WOW! Google actually ASKING?"

The point of my post above is that they are in fact NOT asking... and going a step further, there NO WAY to stop them from polluting the results with trivial sites for things close to me, even though the search I'm doing has zero geo-relevance.

This is bad first because why the heck do they ask if they ignore my answer? We aren't dating in the 50s... "no" does not mean "yes".

But then it is also bad because I am unable to find a base set of results that all the localized/personalized results people see will be laid on top of. (I guess I have not uninstalled the toolbar to check, only disabled it. I guess the next step is putting the toolbar on IE and uninstalling it on FF.)

Google is still better than the competition, but their deliberate destruction of their own results makes them more vulnerable, and the

physics




msg:4077365
 1:46 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you want your eyes opened, install a program like [fiddler2.com...] - you'll be amazed at how much information is being sent back and forth all the time.
Then... install a firewall with alerts and rules.

ppc_newbie




msg:4077413
 3:56 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wasn't there something a few months back about localizing search to the point that they could return results(landmarks/stores/etc.) based on your GPS location.

Nice of the Patriot Act to force GPS into all cars & cellphones.

JS_Harris




msg:4077484
 8:46 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

The anti-google stuff is getting old, sure they have taken liberties in the past but now they are asking and we're free to say no. A step in the right direction imo.

My site on widgets receives 75% of its traffic from my state with the majority coming from a major city that happens to be where my site IP resolves to. Since google also has maps that tell me that this state only ranks #12 in volume for widgets I'd expect to see results showing me that traffic is highest from the #1 state etc.

Serps are still targeted locally first a lot of the time, something to consider when choosing a site subject. THAT seems like a subject needing more discussion. Being #1 in the 12th ranked state brings less visitors than being #12 in the #1 ranked state in this case!

zeus




msg:4077529
 10:50 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

steveb - you can do that, but they collect info anyway, try read there terms. Opt in opt out I think it dossent make a different at the google impire, means they get the info anyway.

blend27




msg:4077581
 1:16 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

why the heck do they ask

Maybe they are just conducting a poll based on the facts they already know about you. Maybe they had a huge surge of toolbars uninstalls after they recently got hacked. Then is Google toolbar is perceived as a software from the company that got hacked.


-OT
you will actually become a more productive worker

Why do people install toolbars still is a mystery to me. Last year before the holidays my friend asked me to find a good deal on a 21" monitor for his Dad. But you just bought him a new monitor I said, like 4 month ago, along with the new PC. His response was: well Dad says it's too small :(. Over the weekend we visited his Dad for unrelated reasons and his PC was on. Oh My... 5 Toolbars: Yahoo, Google, Weatherbug(MySearch), StumbleUpOn and MSN. All colors and flavor kinds. We nuked them all, Dad was Extra Happy. And spend some of the "New Monitor Allocated" Finances on other meaningful gifts(one was for me) for the upcoming holidays, on the WEB.

Silvery




msg:4077701
 4:06 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

The geolocation capability is accomplished by calculating your position based on WiFi locations in relation to your laptop.

I didn't see anyone else post the link to Google's info page about this, so here it is:

[google.com...]

I believe that quite a number of free public Wi-Fi locations may tell partners on the backend where their individual network places are located. So, quite a few companies which contract for geolocation data may already be able to "know" where an individual user is located when they hook into one of these networks.

I'm not necessarily suggesting there should be no concern about opting-in, because if one has already disclosed other identity information to Google, it would make attaching extra geoloc data to one's online usage much more revealing. But, I'm pointing out that Google as well as a number of companies would already know one's geolocation connected to the "anonymity" of IP addresses and cookies, if one is using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Amusingly, my supposition is that if you are using a desktop computer at home or at work, opting into this toolbar functionality wouldn't really be giving them anything extra at all.

Demaestro




msg:4077704
 4:11 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that it can be value added to your searching experience.

I am not so worried about the data they collect. What is the worst thing they can do with it?

With a massive amount of searches being someone looking for something locally I think it is a good feature for some.

loudspeaker




msg:4077712
 4:22 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that it can be value added to your searching experience.

Not to mention the fact that it could make the NSA's "search experience" so much better!

Demaestro




msg:4077714
 4:27 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not to mention the fact that it could make the NSA's "search experience" so much better


How so?

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