Google’s Marissa Mayer on Privacy vs. Transparency

March 7, 2009
165 Views

TechCrunch posted a transcript of a Charlie  Rose interviewing Google Vice President of Search Product and User Experience Marissa Mayer.

Here’s an excerpt I found particularly interesting:

Charlie Rose:
This is a broader philosophical question I want to talk about later. But I mean is there some point in which we know too much about people?

Marissa Mayer:
Well I think that in all cases it’s a tradeoff, right, where you will give you some of your privacy in order to gain some functionality, and so we really need to make those tradeoffs really clear to people, what information are we using and what’s the benefit to them? And then ultimately leave it to user choice so the user can decide. And you have to be very transparent about what information you have about that user and how it’s being used.

Charlie Rose:
But it’s also seems to me clearly a product of age and generation, how willing you are to give up privacy and to allow transparency, clearly.

Marissa Mayer:
Sure, absolutely…

That’s a great attitude. I only which Charlie Rose had fact-checked Google’s actual policy when it comes to transparency. Indeed, Google’s lack of transparency with advertiser

TechCrunch posted a transcript of a Charlie  Rose interviewing Google Vice President of Search Product and User Experience Marissa Mayer.

Here’s an excerpt I found particularly interesting:

Charlie Rose:
This is a broader philosophical question I want to talk about later. But I mean is there some point in which we know too much about people?

Marissa Mayer:
Well I think that in all cases it’s a tradeoff, right, where you will give you some of your privacy in order to gain some functionality, and so we really need to make those tradeoffs really clear to people, what information are we using and what’s the benefit to them? And then ultimately leave it to user choice so the user can decide. And you have to be very transparent about what information you have about that user and how it’s being used.

Charlie Rose:
But it’s also seems to me clearly a product of age and generation, how willing you are to give up privacy and to allow transparency, clearly.

Marissa Mayer:
Sure, absolutely…

That’s a great attitude. I only which Charlie Rose had fact-checked Google’s actual policy when it comes to transparency. Indeed, Google’s lack of transparency with advertisers, who are its bread and butter, recently cost them $761 and a bunch of bad press. While I’m sure Google can afford the judgment (less than 2.5 shares of GOOG stock at the time of this writing), I hope they see this experience as an opportunity to review their principles.

And, of course, don’t get me started on the lack of transparency in their approach to relevance! For those who haven’t been regular readers, here are two of my recent posts about Google:

Link to original post