Google Buzz: We Will Know Where You Are.

Up until yesterday I was somewhat cautiously using the Buzz Mobile App to post Buzz updates from my iPhone.

This morning I found, when trying to post, that I was being asked to agree with a TOS wherein, among other things, it stated that my current location would be displayed whenever I posted to buzz via the Mobile App.

And there was no way to opt out of it, unlike with Twitter and many of the Twitter apps. Or, hell, Facebook even.

My favorite quote from above: “Consent to the collection, use, sharing, and onward transfer of your data, including but not limited to voice and location data….”

Some of that I’ve always understood in Google apps before, because if you don’t allow them to store your data, they can’t do anything for you. On the other hand, I’ve never seen a Google app TOS before where they didn’t let you hide information that they didn’t need to get the job done. Like location when I’m not trying to use Google Maps.

The thing that worries me is if Google was already doing this, but hadn’t thought up the warning until this morning.

As y’all may know, while I do advertise my location as “Bainbridge Island, WA”, that’s one thing versus the GPS-triangulated location of the street corner I happen to be at. I have stalkers on my tail, and as such I do not post my precise geo-location on every Tweet.

Even Apple understood that, and let me turn off location services when I take pictures, wherein they don’t insert geo-location into my JPGs, and I don’t upload a YouTube of me throwing their iPhone through the wall. In fact, Apple let me turn off location services entirely, only to be turned on with the appropriate dialogs when other iPhone apps asked for it. A polite “no” didn’t freak out most non-map apps. I mean, why does an I-Ching program really care about where you are anyways? Or a camera?

It’s a simple arrangement.

Not simple enough for Google, apparently.

Yes, I do have a filter on my privacy. Some things I’d like to make public. Some things I want to keep private (it takes extra money to do so at times, but it’s doable). If a service refuses to let people make that nuanced distinction outside of “well, just don’t use us then!”, that’s either pretty damn arrogant or pretty damn lazy.

Google, you may intend no evil, but that doesn’t mean evil is never a result.

2 thoughts on “Google Buzz: We Will Know Where You Are.

  1. Arachne, I started turning off the location on my iPhone *all the time*, and only turn it on when I want it on for some reason.


    You will get alerts from some iApps telling you that Location is Off.

    If you *want* to use it (for precise maps, etc.) it works very quickly when you turn it back on.

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