The Chrome browser now logs itself in automatically to your Google account whenever you use it to log in on any other Google service, such as Gmail. This exposes all of the data that the browser has collected to Google.
“Why I'm Done with Chrome”
Matthew Green, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering, September 23, 2018
Google has transformed the question of consenting to data upload from something affirmative that I actually had to put effort into — entering my Google credentials and signing into Chrome — into something I can now do with a single accidental click. This is a dark pattern. Whether intentional or note, it has the effect of making it easy for people to activate sync without knowing it, or to think they're already syncing and thus there's no additional cost to increasing Google's access to their data. …
Trust is not a renewable resource.
I've been assuming that deals of this kind are commonplace, but it's unusual to see one acknowledged publicly.
“Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales”
Mark Bergen and Jennifer Surane, Bloomberg, August 30, 2018
For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.
But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren't aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That's because the companies never told the public about the arrangement. …
It works like this: a person searches for “red lipstick” on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn't buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads “Offline Revenue” — only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad [and] then made a relevant purchase.
“Tech's ‘Dirty Secret’: App Developers Sift Through Your Gmail”
Douglas MacMillan, Stocks Newsfeed, July 2, 2018
But the Internet giant continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools. Google does little to police those developers, who train the computers — and, in some cases, employees — to read their users' emails …
Letting employees read user emails has become “common practice” for companies that collect this type of data, says Thede Loder, the former chief technology officer at eDataSource Inc. … He says engineers at eDataSource occasionally reviewed emails when building and improving software algorithms.
“Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret,” says Mr. Loder. “It's kind of reality.”
The Blender Foundation, which supports the development, distribution, and use of free and open-source 3D animation tools, has maintained a YouTube channel since 2008, to exhibit some of its users' achievements and to provide educational videos and recordings of conference talks.
In keeping with the Foundation's non-profit status and its interest in promoting works that are available under free licenses, this YouTube channel is ad-free. The Blender Foundation has not tried to monetize it in any way, despite its popularity (or perhaps because of the popularity it enjoys because it is ad-free).
Now Google is insisting that the channel run ads and sign up with its payment scheme. Since the Blender Foundation has refused, YouTube has now blocked the channel and cut off access to all of the content.
“YouTube Blocks Blender Videos Worldwide”
Francesco Siddi and Ton Roosendaal, Blender Foundation, June 19, 2018
An active user of Internet services decided to take advantage of offers by Google and Facebook to provide him with copies of his dossier. They were much more comprehensive and diverse in their sources than he expected. Not surprisingly, they included a lot of files, photographs, and e-mail messages that he “deleted,” including, for instance, his PGP private key.
His dossier at Google ran to 5.5 gigabytes, and the one that Facebook compiled was 600 megabytes.
“Are You Ready? Here Is All the Data Facebook and Google Have on You”
Dylan Curran, The Guardian, March 30, 2018