When it comes to search engine usage on my Mac, iPhone or iPad, I try to make it as easy as possible to use multiple sources. Google’s search engine results are seldom what I want, and I’m forced to wade through a muddle of sponsored links and advertisements to find anything remotely close to my search criteria.
Meanwhile, Apple seems intent on reinventing how we search online, eschewing the traditional search engine, for more deliberate and focused search. Most of the iPhone and iPad apps I use that pull and display information seem to know the criteria beforehand. To do that the app must know something about me, including my location.
Apple makes it easy for users to control some of the access to personal information. In a case of strange bedfellows, it’s Microsoft which is all fired up about Google’s use of private information.
Check out the site Scroogled. It’s a Microsoft site which points out that Microsoft can be trusted with your privacy, but Google cannot, hence you’re Scroogled by Google.
When you buy an Android app from the Google app store, they give the app maker your full name, email address and the neighborhood where you live. This occurs without clear warning every single time you buy an app.
If you can’t trust Google’s app store, how can you trust them for anything?
Microsoft is quick to point out that apps on the Windows Phone Store don’t share your personal information with app makers. Good for them. But it’s not as though Microsoft has a profit stream to protect.
What about Apple?
Our favorite Mac, iPhone, and iPad company needs to go on record as against everything Google stands for when it comes to privacy information. If Microsoft can do it for Windows Phone apps, why can’t Apple?
Granted, some information about usage and users could be valuable both to Apple and app developers. And, Apple gives us some control over what can be accessed by an app on the iPhone and iPad. To keep Apple customers free from the feeling of being Scroogled, Apple should be very clear as to what information is gathered, what is shared (and with whom), and when, and provide each user with specific controls up to and including an option to share no information whatsoever.