I have in the past defended Google’s business practices and desire to make the index a more user friendly and productive experience….. BUT now I’m not so sure Google isn’t the capitalists that many claim they are.
So here’s the deal.
As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, particularly for signed in users, we believe that protecting these personalized search results is important. As part of that effort, today the Google Search team announced that SSL Search on https://www.google.com will become the default experience for signed in users on Google.com (see the Official Google Blog post to learn more). Protecting user privacy is important to us, and we want to take this opportunity to explain what the Google Analytics team is doing to help you continue measuring your website effectively in light of these changes.
How will this change impact Google Analytics users?
When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”.
Now in a more digestible language. When a searcher is logged in to ANY Google service and uses Google.com we will no longer get to see what the searcher searched for. For example:
If I have a page about crab apples and am getting a great deal of traffic I cannot see if Google understands the page…. Because I cannot see what is being searched for by logged in users. They could be searching for green apples, in which case my page needs better topical information to help searchers who are looking for crab apples find it…. AND to stop the frustration of searchers who are looking for green apples and finding my crab apples!
Google plays this out as being a small percent of all searches….. But with the stickiest damn cookies of any service in the world you are always friggin logged in! Google +1, Analytics, Gmail, Google Aps, Moodle, Google Shopping…. you name it and you are logged in. Come back in 2 weeks and you are STILL LOGGED IN!
Google claims this is an effort to protect the privacy of searchers. So, only logged in searchers are worthy of protection? Worse than that, NO PII is released in provided searcher’s queries… So this is NOT at all a privacy issue. Fact, all statistical formats for websites will lose the ability to see Google referrers with queries for logged in customers…. EXCEPT Google Adwords, which will continue to have this “protected data”. So, this looks bad for Google…. It’s only private data if we are not paying Google for traffic? Bullshit!
So the question in my mind just begging to be asked… “Has Google collected, restricted availability and charged for and thus created a Monopoly on search data from the worlds largest market share of users?” I suspect we will see this information available to Premium Analytics Users (who PAY) as well. I think this is an outright attempt for Google to maintain it’s already prominent market share, while using the data collected by Google users for profit ONLY.
You see, in your Google account you have ALWAYS been able to turn off the collection of this type of non-personal data. Google isn’t worried about your privacy, they are worried about their pockets. I realize that many non-web people will not understand this, but I think presented in the true light, anyone can see Google is taking non-personal data collected to make the searchers experience, websites and usability better out of the hands of the webmasters and selling it to the people who pay to have your search data.
Here are some comments from the blog post I found interesting:
Where’s the -1 button?
It’s a big, big BS…we are getting summary of those searches, and we can’t see the “personal data” and searches done by a certain user…
Martin Aberastegue said…
This really sucks, I’m sure you will be providing this on the premium version. And why this only affects to organic and not paid search too? This is BS….
Claye Stokes said…
Showing search queries for CPC suggests that you’re not really interested in making search more secure, as the title is trying to spin it.
And how is this a security feature? That same SSL connection is obviously working fine for non-Google users and PPC hits, so there is no technical barrier. So really it’s not the SSL security that changed; it’s that Google’s “protecting” Google users from GA users. Aka, us.
Analytics data is already private… I don’t see “John Doe” searched for this keyword in my reporting.
If Google wants webmasters and marketers to be able to improve their websites for visitors, then this data would remain as is. This is imparative to providing the best landing page and experience. Example: if Google determined that a single page ranked for two keywords and one has a better experience for keyword 1 but not for keyword 2 then a webmaster would work to build a better page for keyword 2, however, if the data is split in half or more people using keyword 2 are signed into their Google account, you wouldn’t be able to provide a positive experience.
Who is looking out for the visitors?
In closing…. I am LOGGING OUT OF GOOGLE. I may even dump our company’s Google Aps for a less carnivorous company.