Here, I think, is a time when the word “bias” is actually warranted. Everyone wants so badly for Google to do something truly evil (instead of just questionable or inconvenient) that their perceptions of Google actions are actually being affected. Casting events systematically in a non-objective light is the exhibition of bias, and the continual presentation of policies one disagrees with as evidence of “evil” seems to fall under that category.
Google going evil has become the Godwin’s Law of tech commentary.
To be fair, compartmentalizing services is something that some users prefer. Just last week I lamented the loss of compartmentability when Google changed its account signup process to require new Gmail and G+ accounts. Forcing someone to use a service is bad. But creating policy consistency and cross-talk between related services doesn’t strike me as such. You already had Google-wide preferences. Now you have more.
What about the ad targeting? Now, it is whispered, you could search for basketball tickets and then find that the ads on Gmail or YouTube reflect that history! Your ad profile is now tied to your Google account, not specific site accounts, in other words. Again, it is just assumed people agree this is evil. Why should they? Where is the harm? If anything, it simplifies things and again makes it more intelligible to the average user what Google is tracking. Hint: everything, just like before.
More evil is prophesied by a wild-sounding privacy advocate quoted in the Washington Post: “There is no way anyone expected this. There is no way a user can comprehend the implication of Google collecting across platforms for information about your health, political opinions and financial concerns.” You can almost see the froth on his lips.
And of course, you can opt out of the part worth opting out of:
The worst one can say about this change is that it causes yet more overlap between Google services that people may not have requested. If you call that evil, you’ve forgotten what evil looks like.