What does Google know about you?

What a strange coincidence. Matt Cutts gives a quick overview of the features of the new Google toolbar and I had some concerns about the privacy issues of the server side bookmarks. As I reported before, I use a Firefox extension to synchronize bookmarks among different PC’s, but I have some troubles with it. To store my bookmarks on the Google toolbar sounds like a good idea. But do I really want Google to know all my bookmarks. I asked for feedback on WebmasterWorld:

But then again, I am revealing ALL my bookmarks to Google. Including internal bookmarks, bookmarks with passwords in the URL. SEO bookmarks. Competitors sites (many of which are represented badly in Google). Personal interests. Ecommerce. Online financial services. Do I really like Google to know all these – and to associate them with myself?

There was a little controversy and the thread even made it to the front page. But the majority seems to say that nobody forces me to use it.
However, I just came accross a post on John Battelles blog. He had the chance to ask some privacy related questions to a Google rep:

1) “Given a list of search terms, can Google produce a list of people who searched for that term, identified by IP address and/or Google cookie value?”
2) “Given an IP address or Google cookie value, can Google produce a list of the terms searched by the user of that IP address or cookie value?”

I put these to Google. To its credit, it rapidly replied that the answer in both cases is “yes.”

Let’s hope they really are the Good Guys…

P.S. I blogged about this already last year: http://www.technozid.de/2005/09/12/paranoia/

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