The Price Is Your Privacy & Data


I keep reading and hearing how exciting the new “unlimited” (there are limits) Google Photos app storage is.

However, I keep thinking how successful Google will be in grabbing more metadata and auctioning off even more bits of our lives.

I had very little unused bandwidth last night and this morning – the culprit being a family member uploading tons of photos to Google via the new Photos app. Although, I have a reserved corner in the Bog of Eternal Stench for all the background bandwidth consuming apps of today’s UX oblivious world, it was the vision of how much metadata Google was grabbing to feed its ad machine that made me see Photos for what it is.

Google Photos is the best new metadata low-lit reheated buffet for serving up your memories in neatly repackaged data points to the voracious ad world.

I especially enjoyed the clever “privacy” feature description that Google knew was necessary to lure in the sheeple. For instance, the ability to strip geo-location data when sharing a photo to someone sounds nice on the surface, but that data still exists in the hands of Google and its algorithms. Facial and object recognition adds a nice way of identifying what’s in a photo besides simply relying on embedded metadata too. Again, this is all data that will be used to better grease the ad machine.

Google Photos is a free app with sort of unlimited storage, but the price is your metadata. Remember the free email? The price was contact lists and keywords. Photos is coming to us with an exorbitant price tag of undiscussed metadata.

It’s probably a good time, whether you plan on using Google Photos or not, to find a good image EXIF remover – an app to remove embedded metadata from photos (that doesn’t get around facial recognition algorithms though – maybe buy stock in a sunglass company).

Photo store safely.

[Update May 30, 2015]

The information gleaned from analyzing these photos does not travel outside of this product – not today.

It’s tomorrow that I worry about considering Google’s revenue streams and historical record. Lure us in and then spring the trap.

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