• http://twitter.com/alancperkins Alan Perkins

    This is a definite own goal. 

    What Google should have done is, when the +1 button was clicked, show a dialogue box explaining that it would not register since the browser’s privacy permissions were set too high.  This could have linked to more info explaining the issue in-depth and how to fix it, if you so wished.  By the time Safari users had seen this message a few times, they would learn either to not click +1 buttons or to change their privacy permissions.

  • Anonymous

    This user tracking right? It tracks where your iphone go on the internet. It is not location tracking.

    But it is tracking.

  • Ruth O’Leary

    How will this behaviour be impacted by the EU’s Cookie Directive?  I can’t see the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office looking too kindly on it, for a start.

  • http://twitter.com/TweetingAuthor James R. Mitchener

    Google incorporates many different strategies that push the bounds of privacy and accountability, but I fail to see how this is that much different than anything they’ve done before. It’s just a tiny violation to make things easier. Google has always had a knack for taking certain privacy options away in exchange for convenience. When a user goes to Google, they are already signing away some of their privacy in exchange for a service. This is how we pay for the most efficient and effective global-information-sharing system the world has ever seen. We hit “Search” and say “You know what, I don’t mind if you know what I looked up. I don’t mind if you remember where I clicked and where I didn’t. I don’t mind if you know where I am and what all my other Google information is, because honestly, your system makes my life easier and therefor it’s a worthwhile trade.”

    Is it right that Google bypassed Safari to make +1 buttons usable? Technically, no. Does it make for a more intuitive and streamlined experience when surfing the web? I’d say yes. Seems to me like another worthwhile trade.

    And in regards to Google hurting their name by playing games like this: The damage done by such behaviour is akin to throwing a cup of water on Mount Everest; sure, water erodes rock, but I wouldn’t wait around for that mountain to crumble if I were you.

  • http://www.dazzlindonna.com/blog/ dazzlindonna

    “Does it make for a more intuitive and streamlined experience when surfing the web? I’d say yes. Seems to me like another worthwhile trade.” 

    Really? Do you really care if there is a +1 button on an Adsense ad? Do you really +1 ads you see? Is that truly a worthwhile trade for you? Maybe it is for you, but I can’t imagine many people would be willing to trade anything for the “opportunity” to +1 an ad. 

  • Anonymous

    Really?  You broke this taboo for +1 buttons on ads?  Sounds like Google isn’t getting the coverage on the +1 button across the web such as the facebook Like button gets, and so have decided to push it through their ad network to get it out on pages.  Being tracked by these social voting buttons isn’t news, Facebook has been doing it to me for years.

    But when you cross the line between collecting information which is freely given, and game the system to get information that is protected you cross the line in many peoples eyes between simply collecting information and stealing.

    As John Battelle’s take points out Apple is being difficult intentionally, but that doesn’t excuse Google from violating people’s choice who do intentionally keep their browsers at default.  It’s not a good look and leaves you open to ask what other convenient things Google maybe bypassing.  Hope the bad press is worth it for +1 on Ads…

    The WSG did me a disservice as well, but its not the first over dramatized headline I seen in a paper.  This is a problem in the print media not limited to Google, though the focus on the iPhone seems disingenuous as well.

  • http://twitter.com/bigcarr Jim Carrington


    Google is not being totally forthcoming.  It is not just Google+.  When they disable their offending code, our remarketing serves on iPad went off a cliff.

  • http://soft4click.blogspot.com/ CEO

    i agree with you it just Google+.But thank you for your info

  • zato

    The New York Times does an over-the-top hit piece on Apple’s “Chinese sweat shops”, then, the next week, the WSJ does an over-the-top hit piece on Google. 

    Microsoft and the WSJ go way back. 
    Microsoft seems to OWN the NYTimes these days. I think there was some kind of secret bailout of the NYT in 2008-9. 
    Microsoft is desperately trying to regain mindshare. I wouldn’t put any of this kind of hanky-panky past them.

  • rt

    Google is a spyware company.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s just a tiny violation to make things easier”


    Users should be the ones making the privacy vs convenience tradeoff decisions.

    And what makes you think you have been chosen to define “tiny violation”.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    I heard the usually even-handed Leo Laporte define the “free” web as the advertising web. So missing the point. I said I didn’t want third party or advertiser’s cookies to be said. Apple’s preference protects non-technical people. If they think it’s worthwhile, they can voluntarily click the buttons to get tracked. But all the browsers allow you to stop these cookies. All of them, including Google’s Chrome. It’s just that only the technical elite think about it, so the great majority of the shmoes get to be 21-century serfs.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    John Battelle is an advertiser, so his opinion is taken with a grain of salt. A big boulder of salt, actually. I don’t buy that Apple is “just protecting iAd,” which is a) on the level of a hobby, and b) look it up: does it set cookies in Safari if your preferences are set otherwise? I’ll bet not. iAd will likely fail, because Jobs put so many strictures against it being invasive. And? Oh yes, this default existed long before iAd. I know you could set it from the beginning of Safari, and I’m trying to figure out in what version it became the default and when. My memory tells me, it was a LONG way back.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    That’s why they did it by accident.

  • http://www.davidlam.ca/blog David Lam

    There’s a known bug in iOS5 where the iPhone’s mobile Safari cookies preferences would reset itself to “Never” despite the user setting it to “From visited” or “Always”: