Because Facebook and Twitter scare the shit out of Google and when companies, like people, are scared they do dumb things.
Google in particular, once the brash, brazen upstart that gave the proverbial middle finger to old, portal-style search sites and promised to always deliver the best results, not just the best Google-owned results, is struggling with their inner demons now. They don't want to be replaced by social search the way their authoritative search replaced Yahoo! and Alta Vistas of old.
I've riffed before that any company sufficiently large is indistinguishable from evil. As they grow, as they face competitive pressures, the interests and agendas of their shareholders, stakeholders, and executives increasingly and more noticeably diverge from the interests of their users. From us.
They, like many of us, become the parents they used to despise.
Why does this matter to me and why am I posting it on iMore, an iPhone and iPad focused site? Because I'm a huge user of Google services and iPhone and iPad users in general are huge users of Google's services. We use Google Search, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and other services every day. We give Google massive amounts of personal information. We give them our trust. And that absolutely means we have both the right and obligation to hold them to that trust.
According to Sarah Lacey at PandoDaily, Google's new, "don't be don't be evil" direction has become a concern even for many Googlers past and present, and the silence surrounding it is stymying even internal PR.
Good. This shouldn't be easy. It should be messy and public and painful, and if Google wants to keep getting and using our data, they should keep earning that privilege.
Hopefully the rumors of Larry Page not wanting to hear any opposition to their new Google+ strategy are false, and like Apple and Facebook have sometimes done in the past, Google's more unpopular new policies will be reversed, and soon.
Dear Google user,
We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
One policy, one Google experience
Easy to work across Google
Our new policy reflects a single product experience that does what you need, when you want it to. Whether you're reading an email that reminds you to schedule a family get-together or finding a favorite video that you want to share, we want to ensure you can move across Gmail, Calendar, Search, YouTube, or whatever your life calls for with ease.
If you're signed into Google, we can do things like suggest search queries – or tailor your search results – based on the interests you've expressed in Google+, Gmail, and YouTube. We'll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you're searching for and get you those results faster.
Easy to share and collaborate
When you post or create a document online, you often want others to see and contribute. By remembering the contact information of the people you want to share with, we make it easy for you to share in any Google product or service with minimal clicks and errors.
Protecting your privacy hasn't changed
Our goal is to provide you with as much transparency and choice as possible, through products like Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager, alongside other tools. Our privacy principles remain unchanged. And we'll never sell your personal information or share it without your permission (other than rare circumstances like valid legal requests).
We've got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)
Notice of Change
Please do not reply to this email. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered. Also, never enter your Google Account password after following a link in an email or chat to an untrusted site. Instead, go directly to the site, such as mail.google.com or www.google.com/accounts. Google will never email you to ask for your password or other sensitive information.