Will Google Revolutionize Online Privacy?

A woman's hand is touching screen on tablet computer iPad pro at night for searching on Google search engine. Google is popular Internet search engine

Your online privacy matters, even if you don’t think you have anything to hide. Over the last few years, this has become more and more evident as we watch tech giants profit off of understanding the people who use their services. Facebook, Amazon, and Google are among them. Google in particular has made some recent policy changes that are worth understanding.

Google isn’t a Search Engine, They are an Ad Platform

We all know and use Google as a search engine every single day. A majority of us use their Android smartphones, surf the web with the Chrome browser, use their Gmail email service, watch television through a Google Chromecast, and a whole lot more. Fundamentally, however, Google makes their money by serving relevant ads to people who do Google searches.

Whenever you are on the Internet, you are being watched. Not by human beings necessarily, but by the constantly learning and changing algorithms that power Google and many other similar entities.

It’s how services like Google can get so good at giving you the answers you are looking for. For example, if you search for “chinese takeout near me” Google will give you results based on your location. It collates those results based on reviews and tons of other metrics to try to give you the best possible experience.

Google custom tailors all of its search results for you like that. Gather a few of your colleagues and have them search for hot-button issues and compare results. Google is more likely to deliver content that it thinks is relevant to you and your search behavior. Some of that content might be ads that individuals and companies purchase and pay money for, hence how Google has become such an affluent global enterprise.

What’s New for Google Involving Your Online Privacy

Google plans on dropping some of the methods it uses to track an individual’s online behavior across the web. This is actually pretty surprising, considering that they built their entire business around that sort of thing. For the record, Google has been, for the most part, pretty trustworthy about how they use this type of data, especially compared with how some other entities (we’re looking at you, Facebook) have done some pretty shady stuff with this wealth of information.

Google isn’t eliminating their data-gathering altogether, but they are shifting away from using cookies. Cookies are tiny files that your web browser stores that track your online activity. They are meant to be helpful, mostly. They make it so your browser can remember where you are logged in, they help your website track the number of hits it receives, and a lot more. Most cookies are pretty benign, and often they make your online experience better.

Instead of using cookies, Google is going to start watching trends amongst groups of similar users, as opposed to building individual profiles of each individual user. This builds a sort of “privacy sandbox” that lets a user be a little more anonymous, but should still deliver a good experience overall online. It sounds good on paper, but there has been some scrutiny.

For instance, if a user signs into a website with their Google account, that information is still passed over, and the entity that controls the website (or their partners) can glean any information about your time on that site. The UK, which is often first in line to question privacy issues online, are currently investigating these new tools to find any anticompetitive features.

It’s probably a good step in the right direction for Google, as the world becomes increasingly conscious about how an individual’s data is used, and how other entities can use this information for their advantage.

In general, we have faith that Google has the best intentions, but it’s still up to each of us as people to be careful about what we do and post online. It’s important to stay safe and vigilant, and to take the time to understand what online entities can learn about you.

What are your thoughts? Do you like how convenient websites and search engines can be when they know who you are, or would you rather give up that convenience for more online privacy? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to contact us if you have any questions!

FCC Speed Test App to Help Fix Internet Inequality

Communication technology for internet business. Global world network and telecommunication on earth cryptocurrency and blockchain and IoT. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

With the transition of broadband Internet from a helpful convenience to a prescient need for modern life and business, it is staggering to consider that access to this resource is not equally distributed. While the U.S. Federal Communications Commission intends to change this, they need data to help them gauge the true scope of the problem. To do so, the FCC is pulling out an application that they first released years ago: FCC Speed Test.

How Important is Broadband Accessibility?

To answer this question, all that is needed is a little reflection. Take a few moments to look at your own online activities—how much of your life is now primarily handled online, through the Internet? Shopping online, keeping in touch with friends and relatives, or (most pertinently to our considerations) working remotely?

The lack of consistent broadband access makes these activities considerably more difficult for many people and businesses, if not eliminating them as options altogether. Therefore, the FCC is rallying behind the FCC Speed Test app they launched in 2013 and pushing for people to install it on their mobile devices.

FCC Speed Test

With enough people downloading and enabling the application, the FCC will be able to better keep track of the areas where Internet service quality is lacking. This will in turn enable funds to be most effectively allocated to where they are most needed.

FCC Speed Test evaluates the upload and download speeds, along with the latency, of your mobile device via a Wi-Fi network or cellular connection. Kicking in once every 24 hours, these tests can be scheduled to meet your itinerary and how much data these evaluations will use.

In addition, the app helps to test connectivity speeds, plotting them out by time and geographic location. In exchange, the app collects some data (like location, IP address, device type, operating system, and ISP) but refrains from collecting any personally identifiable data.

You can also report any lacking speeds to the FCC through the app, adding to the data they collect.

Available for either iOS or Android, this application can be downloaded now. Check out the FCC’s official FAQ page to find out more about it.

With any luck, these kinds of actions will help bring more equitable Internet access to more people, businesses, and organizations. While we wait, we will continue to deliver whatever IT services we can to companies. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006 to find out what we could do for you.

Internet Advocacy And The Constant Fight For Internet Rights

internet advocacy and the constant fight for internet rights

The internet has been one of the greatest achievements in humanity, but it comes with scrutiny. Today, many online advocates are fighting for the rights of people that use the internet. The people that are fighting for our rights have began to make strides in the way businesses (especially those exclusively on the internet) can act. Let’s take a look at the advances that internet advocates have made to protect the rights of internet users around the world. 

The Online Advocacy Initiative 

Some people still believe that the internet is still new and doesn’t require the need for advocacy, but they are the ones that have had little interaction with unscrupulous online businesses or don’t feel concerned with their personal information being pillaged by unauthorized users. In fact, there are other internet concerns that online advocates have addressed including: 

  • Monetization consumer/visitor data 
  • Censorship 
  • Access to affordable internet services 
  • Net neutrality

Net Neutrality: The Advocates Perspective 

Net neutrality is at the forefront of online advocacy because it threatens internet freedom. According to the FCC (Federal Communication Commission), a 2015 law was passed that required online business transparency, consumer protection, protection against unnecessary regulations, and the promotion of broadband investments, but these laws were repelled in 2017. Advocates for the internet continue to fight for these initiatives to protect over 3.9 billion users that browse, make purchases, operate businesses and work online. Net neutrality continues to focus on healthy internet access for everyone. The goal is to ensure that large internet providers won’t try to maximize their profits off of the backs of those that use the web. 

Businesses of all kinds including government agencies tend to take autonomy over consumer information that’s passed over the internet and advocates are pushing for data privacy. These advocates are asking the question: “Why should Walmart, Google, or Facebook benefit from our personal information?” However, the way things stand, it may take time for the United States to get on board with privacy laws in comparison to other international regions like the European Union’s Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that protects European residents from “organizational tyranny.”

How Can AE Technology Group Protect Your Business Online 

At AE Technology Group, we understand your business and not just technology. We help our clients find the right managed IT services for their data security and more. Learn how our free onsite consultation can protect your business data and create effective project deployment. Our services include:

  • Managed services
  • Cloud computing 
  • Disaster recovery 
  • Cloud services
  • Online marketing 

and more… 

We’re prepared to help your business stand side by side with internet advocacy as a trusted online business resource. You’re invited to contact us at AE Technology Group to start your 90 free trial today. 

Small Business Phone And Internet Service

small business phone and internet service


What Your Traditional Phone Provider Isn’t Telling You

It’s no secret the demand for small business phone and internet service is through the roof these days. But what’s the big deal about a VoIP phone system for business?

Well, many business owners figured out this is a vehicle that will help them save money. Here are two concrete benefits.

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

When the customer is happy, the business owner is happy. It’s really easy for business owners to underestimate the importance of a happy customer, but that is definitely a mistake. The blog TeleAppliant notes:

It’s cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones, so it’s vital that you keep yours happy; with happier customers comes increased loyalty and ultimately, repeat business. VoIP telephone systems will make sure you answer every call, whilst enabling you to gather tangible details on customer behavior that allows you to make smarter business decisions.

People notice details. Your customers notice details. A missed call, a call you don’t answer right away, can damage your brand, whether you know it or not. Use a VoIP service to make sure you get every call every time.

Work Anywhere And Anytime

A VoIP business phone system allows you to get information from anywhere. If someone leaves you a message, you don’t have to wait until tomorrow morning to see it. You will have the ability to access on any device that you connect to the internet with.

Contact us if you would like to learn more ways you can help your small business grow faster.