14
Oct
google-g-logo

If you're the sort who already worries Google has too much of your personal information, this is not for you. For everyone else, Google is reportedly developing a new opt-in data collection service that will reward users for passing additional mobile usage data back to Mountain View. The so-called Mobile Meter app is expected to come to both Android and iOS.

google-apps

Android already provides Google with various bits of data like location and search activity. Mobile Meter would presumably go much farther, perhaps monitoring which sites you visit and which apps you're using. The data would be anonymized and fed into the Google machine so that it may better understand us.

It isn't clear what kind of reward users would get for playing along – maybe Google Play credit or Wallet funds? Whatever it is, Google's going to have to make it pretty sweet to get people on-board.

[Engadget]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • fsdgasdg

    US only i am calling it

    • RitishOemraw

      Does it even need to be said?
      I thought we did the thing where you only call it if it isn't US only...you know...to make the game actually hard :P

  • Danny Holyoake

    I can't wait for this to be US-only, for no reason whatsoever.

    • Zach Bonjour

      I would imagine that the privacy laws vary wildly across the globe. So until all that can be sorted out, this will most likely be very geographically restricted.

      • Matthew Fleisher

        I don't think privacy laws matter if you opt in. You're giving them permission to read your mind.

        • atlouiedog

          Netflix wouldn't post what US users watched to Facebook, even if they opted in, due to an old law that predated either service and didn't account for the way they work. It was a grey area for them and the fear of violating it was enough to scare them off what's essentially free advertising to friends and family.

          • Matthew Fleisher

            They just have to word it carefully like this: "Check this box if you give us permission to post what you watch on your Facebook feed. We don't want to violate your privacy so we have to get your permission or it would be illegal.". See how easy that was? No legalese to confuse anybody.

      • iboalali

        what if a country (like the one I live in) doesn't care about privacy?

        • Justin W

          Depends - does the government not care about your privacy? It appears in a lot of the EU, privacy concerns are high for the private sector to consumers, but the government is the one invading on everyone's privacy (based off just a couple of countries, not any one in particular).

          • iboalali

            I live in the middle east. and no, my government doesn't care about privacy

          • Justin W

            :(

    • Levi Wilcox

      I can't wait for people to stop bitching about an American company doing American releases. I think I'll be waiting a lot longer than you though. ;)

      • sivkai

        Wow, you really are ignorant aren't you? Google might be an American based company, but it one that operates internationally. If I had to guess, I'd say Google has more non-US customers than US (I refer to all 'products' including Google Search).

        How having said all that. It is a smack in the face when again and again Google continues to exclude non-US customers. I understand that some cases are due to legal issues such as Google Voice, but many more seem to be excluded because Google simply can't be bothered and doesn't see value in investing time and resources outside the US (for e.g. the Nexus 4 Orb).

        I hate to say it but Apple is a great example of a company that doesn't attach exclusivity to its services and products. Just a shame that all their services and products suck.

        • neverused

          So you're upset that Google doesn't invest money into infrastructure in a non-US company. If Google " doesn't see value in investing time and resources outside the US" I would think it would be wise not to waste money there. If you don't like the way a system works, don't make use of it.

          Above all, drop your false sense of entitlement and get off your soap box.

        • Cenarl

          Does Google have enough of an advertising presence in foreign countries to make it worth their while? Will numerous companies outside the US pay a king's ransom for this data? I'm just genuinely asking, because I have no idea.

          In the US advertising/marketing is probably the biggest reason for cash flow exchange in the country, with billions upon billions spent trying to convince our countless sheep to buy things. Tons American companies will pay huge amounts of money for this data, im not so sure companies outside of the US would pay extravagant prices when markets are much smaller.

          Our economy maybe crumbling, but we still spend all kinds of money on piles of crap. They're probably related somehow ;)

        • Ryan Stewart

          Actually less ignorant than you though. Maybe Google is always starting things off locally because its a familiar regulatory and commercial environment and they need time to figure out your countries requirements.

      • BrazenRain

        Their problems are worse than yours, are they not? So shut it.

      • angel_spain

        An american company that, according to number of android users, earns much more from Europe than US. But hey, don't be shy and be pride of your ignorance.

      • sivkai

        Wow, you really are ignorant aren't you? Google might be an American based company, but it one that operates internationally. If I had to guess, I'd say Google has more non-US customers than US (I refer to all 'products' including Google Search).

        How having said all that. It is a smack in the face when again and again Google continues to exclude non-US customers. I understand that some cases are due to legal issues such as Google Voice, but many more seem to be excluded because Google simply can't be bothered and doesn't see value in investing time and resources outside the USUS (eg the Nexus 4 Orb).

        I hate to say it but Apple is a great example of a company that does attach exclusivity to its services and products. Just a shame that all their services and products suck.

    • Michael Pahl

      False entitlement? Its a US based company.

      • sivkai

        But a globally operating company. Learn the distinction.

        • Michael Pahl

          What global company do you know that launches same products with same features at the same time, in every country it operates in.
          PS- USA is where the $ is....
          Butthurt much?

          • Oops

            You mean the billions of dept right? USA is where the economical crisis started. This country is practically bunkrupt!

          • Michael Pahl

            billions? You mean Trillions?

            And no, national debt has nothing to do with it. I mean USA is Home to Google, Apple, BB and M$. Of course we are going to be where one of our home companies tests a new service.

            Want some exclusive stuff yourself? Where is your country's entrepreneurial spirit?

          • mesmorino

            Slow your roll hombre, BB is Canadian

          • Michael Pahl

            Edit: thanks. I thought BB had headquarters in midwest for some reason.

          • akshay7394

            USA is where the $ is? You couldn't possibly be more ignorant (or dickish) about it.

            Google makes a massive amount of it's revenue from European markets, it even exceeded the revenue they earned in American markets for a couple of quarters in the past few years.

          • Michael Pahl

            Call me whatever. Does Not change the fact you have a false sense of entitlement. I am part Swiss and when I lived in CH I missed out on Netflix, etc. but i never bitched so much about it as you guys.

            Again, how can you cry about an American company launching a new service in its home country? suck it up already.

          • akshay7394

            I'm not crying about shit, I'm pointing out how blindly insulting your comment is, even without a shred of actual thinking behind it. False sense of entitlement? Can you hear yourself? Being sad that something isn't available to us isn't a 'false sense of entitlement', it's just disappointment.

            Would you cry about them launching it internationally? No? What about if they launched, say, Europe-only?

            Most people would prefer you thought at least a bit before commenting, because no matter how daft a person may be in real life it's pretty easy to think through your words before typing them out.

            tl;dr -Nobody's bitching about Google here with any sort of false entitlement, that's all just disappointment. Nothing else.

          • Michael Pahl

            It's even worse than all the "When will CM be stable on my XYZ"... its on every single feature launch article on every single Android blog.

            PS- Akshay is an Indian name. India is a great market to take advantage of, but have you ever thought there is no benefit to Google to have data from people in India? Moto was reporting pulling out of India all together.

            Dude your panties are in a huge bunch. Move on.

          • akshay7394

            Sure, people can be stupid, no doubt. Does that mean you throw a shit fit about it because the world isn't tailored to your idea of perfection?

            Congratulations, you know how to use Google. There's literally nothing that says that I can't have an Indian name while not being Indian, just FYI. Aside from making this personal for no reason, was there any other mention of India, till now? No, right? That's because it didn't have a place in this argument. I gave you Europe as an example, because I'm not an idiot who assumes my country is THE shit because google releases products/services there. Also about you not knowing shit related to anything you talk about - Moto pulled out of India in 2012. As well as several other major markets *because they were restructuring.* William Moss said they would be back. (Director of Moto in Asia-Pacific, for those unable to figure this out on their own.)

            Don't switch an argument because you can't win it. Little princesses like you are the ones ruining the entire world with your high-and-mighty bullshit. It's tiring and pointless.

          • Michael Pahl

            So you're not from India?

          • akshay7394

            Aw, that's cute, you're diverting. Again.

            Suck it up and spit it out you little shit.
            Waste someone else's time.

          • Michael Pahl

            exactly.
            Anyway India will get there soon enough, they have the fastest growing smartphone sales. But with only 150 some odd internet users, out of a massive 1.3 billion population, its not exactly where the data mining effort should be focused now is it?

            I clearly have gone and hurt your feelings little guy.

          • akshay7394

            I don't think you understand what diverting means.

            150 odd internet users? How stoned are you exactly? India's an outsourcing HUB, not LEAST of which is Pune and Bangalore which are IT *driven* cities. One freaking office would have more than 150 internet-capable computers not to mention how massively popular Android and smartphones in general are over here. Nice try, kid.

          • Michael Pahl

            You couldn't tell i meant million? really? that was a stretch to decipher?

          • Guest

            here.

          • Michael Pahl

            "Little princesses like you are the ones ruining the entire world with your high-and-mighty bullshit."

            And obviously Google to and there knack for releasing new features and products in their home country. sigh. where things are marketable and make money.

          • akshay7394

            Do you understand English? Seriously?

            Where did Google get insulted once in my entire line of comments? I don't mind that they release it in their home country. It's little stuck up brats like you that make a big deal out of it.

            I insulted you. Not Google. Don't be stupid; you're far too good at it.

    • A Black UI is the best UI

      Unlike everything else I want this to remain US only.

      • akshay7394

        Could I ask why? (Genuinely curious, not being a dick)

        • A Black UI is the best UI

          Chances are the rewards aren't going to be as big as a Nexus 5 or even an old Nexus 4 so lets be realistic the reward for this is probably a free book or something small.

          Now next to that I actually value my privacy, well what is left of it in this day and age also just because the data doesn't have my name on it doesn't mean people can't piece it together to figure out a rough idea who I am and where I am.

          • akshay7394

            Oh, that makes sense. I don't see how it being US only or not changes any of that :P but it makes sense for sure

    • Ryan Stewart

      There is always a reason. This may shock you but, in whatever country you live in, the US legal system has no bearing. That includes contracts that have been signed, negotiations and legal hurdles to jump.

      So if you dont get a specific feature why not actually ask why instead of being willfully ignorant? Maybe you dont get Google Wallet because Google hasnt made it through whatever system of legal approvals required for that service. Maybe you dont get books because a publisher has not inked an agreement with Google to sell the books in your country. Maybe you don't get LTE in your Galaxy Note because you live in a part of Uganda that doesn't have an updated cellular system.

  • ih8legal

    Yay, Moneys!

  • Blake Smith

    Nice. I'll do it. Google can have all my data. Won't bother me any.

    • iandouglas

      If it's anonymized, there's no real downside.

      • Brendan

        And honestly, I really could care less if they knew how often I check reddit or play toast time. Really, this is just free rewards for me and I'd presume most android users.

      • mesmorino

        Anonymous to a computer is not the same as anonymous to a person

        • Raymond Berger

          How so?

          • mesmorino

            Because computers deal with information in a discrete manner. So, while it is certainly possible to provide a computer with a meaningless bunch of numbers say signal strength data plus how often the phone connects to wifi plus some location data, and the computer will do some analysis and tell you about the local signal strength, maybe even the nearest cell tower, and where the last location data came from.

            But a person can add all of that and infer that you live say half a mile from the nearest cell tower, that you're often on wifi due to the low data signal quality. Add a bit more information from other sources (like if you use public/private wifi) and you can drastically narrow down a search radius.

            As far as the computer is concerned it IS anonymised data. Except that people in general are a hell of a lot smarter than a computer, and most people are able to intuitively infer concrete information from seemingly random data.

          • Sahil Chaturvedi

            But is that a bad thing?

            What kind of "private" data are they able to access? I mean, they already know where and when I access the internet, which is fine. If they know how many times I check Gmail, I don't think that makes a difference. What is the limit?

          • mesmorino

            It's not necessarily a bad thing, computers are supposed to make our lives easier after all. It's just good to be aware of the whole picture, and to bear in mind that while you may be happy for a computer to have your information, computers also rarely deal with information without human input at some level or the other. In my example above, say the computer gets stuck in an infinite loop, or gets confused about something or the other. Well, that's when it starts needing the programmer to debug it, and suddenly you now have a human third party in your previously secure and anonymous data stream.

            Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, and you have to trust somebody sooner or later. But if they're telling me the data is anonymous, when that's not entirely true, I'd like to be made aware of this in a manner more explicit that a bit of legalese on page 45 of the EULA

          • TheCraiggers

            mesmorino already covered a fair bit, but I'll chime in too with another example. Say you took a block of search terms from Google/Yahoo/Bing or whatever and anonymised it. You might think it would be hard to infer who made what searches, as it's no longer linked to you, personally. But if they go through the actual search terms, they may find names of people you've searched for, nearby restaurants & addresses, phone numbers, and the like. Couple that info with other databases which aren't anonymise, and you can now infer a name in many cases.

    • BaconEater

      Don't worry, they have it already =P

  • Nick

    I would love Google Play credit! Take my data!

  • RitishOemraw

    They can easily convert a lot of dedicated android users by offering the reward of:
    First to get app update prompts during staged roll-outs
    :P

    • Kostas

      I thought that Android Police's was already doing this, to lure us, maniacs, in the blog :D ( and I 'm ok with this)

      • RitishOemraw

        They are and it is working. What do you think I am here for? The great articles? The awesome community? Well yes, but also first dibs on APKs :D

  • Michael Pahl

    Not sure how this would work with Cyanogenmods Privacy Guard ;)

  • android2018

    Shut up and take my data!

  • Trent Callahan

    Here's what's going to happen.
    1.) I opt in.
    2.) XPrivacy spoofs my info.
    3.) I get free rewards.

    Abusing the system buddyyyyyyy ^-^

    • Mike

      ...

  • dpneal

    I'm in.

  • Christopher Robert

    Marketing data from the US is all that matters or is Worth paying for since we have all the money and buy all the sh+t. sacasm

  • projectmisha

    Maybe a Nexus 5 with this auto-opted-in and locked in for the life of the device (or until you flash it) for 100-200 off the price of the phone?

  • holk

    "anonymized"

  • mesmorino

    This is one Google "service" that I would actually be happy for it to remain US only. I'm like, calm the fuck down Google, ain't nobody asked for this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXpuRIZzJog

    • Matt McKee

      You're not required to opt-in.

  • sivkai

    If this means getting a free Nexus 5, I'm game :)

  • Qliphah

    Looking at how microsoft did the "Bing Rewards" it's going to be coupons and nickel & dime type offers. I don't see anybody, even google, giving away free money for essentially information they've gotten for free over the past years.

    • br_hermon

      They weren't paying for information per say but what about when they gave EVERYONE $10 to try Google Wallet? Google is willing to make payouts.

      • John O’Connor

        Us I/O attendees also received $10 this year for Gmail's beta "pay by email" feature.

  • Simon Belmont

    I'd consider it, if it was giving me free Google Play Store credit. Of course that hinges HEAVILY on what kind of data they're scooping up.

    I we will find out. I wonder if this will be announced alongside KitKat.

    • John O’Connor

      In other news, Apple just bought Nintendo. The iWii will be out shortly.

  • br_hermon

    In related news, the NSA is considering giving every American a free smartphone "just because"

  • Asphyx

    I'll opt in provided they give me credits for contributing to their business model to cover more than the cost of the data I pay for and they will be using to make money with!

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    I'll opt in, no matter what the rewards are. I've got nothing to hide from Google. All they're doing is using my data to improve their services, and I'm definitely okay with that.

    • FrillArtist

      Lol. Talk about delusional.

    • Gav456

      True dat. If Google want some anonymous data from me to help them provide me with a better service, keep that service free, and subsidise nexus devices by selling data to companies so that they are able to target me with advertisements that are relevant to me then more power to them!

      • Sahil Chaturvedi

        Agreed!

  • ChainsawCharlie

    No thanks! Not that I have anything to hide, this is just too much.

  • Phillip Burns

    Their were so many error in this article, it made me cringe.

    • CoreRooted

      You mean "There" and "errors"? (I tried to resist. I really, really did) LOL ;-)

      • Phillip Burns

        ^ intentional for the LoLz.

        • MrNinjaPanda

          I should write that at the end of all my English essays.

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    I mean, when you think about it, they're already rewarding us for our usage stats. The reward is improved services over time.

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      Well said sir, well said.

  • senor_heisenberg

    I'd sign up for a Nexus 5.

  • Gav456

    Shut up and give me your money!

  • Andres Schmois

    I hate to be "that" guy, but this sentence needs rewriting: " The data would anonymized and fed into the Google machine that it my better understand us."

    • mesmorino

      Nah, the "my" just needs correcting into "might". It's a one word swap vs your rewrite

  • angel_spain

    Shut up and take my data!

  • Michael Fontenot

    Unlike most of the world, I like Google to know everything about me. They provide the best content that way.

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      Exactly! I have nothing to hide.

      • mesmorino

        Well, you have nothing to hide *now*.

        This could conceivably change, right? In addition, *you* have nothing to hide, but lots of other people do.

        You are essentially putting your trust in a company that hasn't really earned in, for no particularly good reason.

        "I have nothing to hide" is not a very good reason for leaving curtains open or doors unlocked, so why should technology different?

        • Sahil Chaturvedi

          True, but if they use this data that isn't important *in some cases* to improve the experience of our products, then it should alright, correct?

          • mesmorino

            Yes, in theory. Except, who decides what is or isn't important? What I consider important is likely different from what you consider important, and different again to what Google considers important.

            Also, is there any tangible evidence that this data won't be collected simply for its own sake or worse, sold to marketers, or used for advertising? How do you define "an improvement in the experience of their products?"

            Just recently in the news is all the drama about the NSA conducting covert, unwarranted surveillance on people, with the collaboration or coercion of a number of companies and here you are jumping at the chance to give them yet more data. Well, good for you.

            Me, the less data they have about me, the less nefarious things they can do with it. If that limits the good they can do with it too, well I can live with that.The potential good they can do with it (a nebulous "improvement" of services) is far outweighed by the potential evil they can do with (which can ultimately result in physical harm)

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    Unless I get a Nexus 5 out of it then its not worth it.

  • Sahil Chaturvedi

    I'm in!

  • MrNinjaPanda

    Can't Google just ask NSA to share some data with them?

  • James Briano

    New Google thing? I'm gettin' it!

  • Primalxconvoy

    Hahaha...NO.

  • Gigadash

    The botnet

    • John O’Connor

      If that hideous spandex suit is a requirement to play, that's an immediate opt-out ;-)

  • Stanley Lu

    Awesome! can't wait~

  • David Peterson

    OK Google here's the deal: bring Google Fiber to my town and I will tell you everything you would ever want to know and some things you probably didn't...

  • Ryan Stewart

    If nobody updated this it was posted on another site that this is an existing program for a very select number of users and Google has no plans to roll it out to the masses at all.