I use Gmail for a work account and also one for my personal stuff. Today an interesting notice popped up. This is the second time I’ve seen it. The first time I was busy and didn’t pay attention.
Call me paranoid, but I doubt that Google is trying to improve my security or offer me a better experience. I suspect one of 2 options:
- They’re trying to shut down multiple accounts – sign in and you’ll see what I mean: Most people will read right across that “One Account. All of Google.” (below) But I got stuck after that first period. “One Account.” I think they mean it and will eventually limit us. How? By IP address.
- They’re trying to shut down ghost writing by content marketing companies. Full disclosure: I also log into my clients’ Google properties like YouTube and Blogger to post content we create and market for them – videos, blog posts, Google+, etc. I have a strong suspicion that Google knows this and isn’t happy about it. How do they know it? Again, by IP address.
It’s all about Google Author Rank and Authority
How can Google really know that someone is an authority if they can see the same IP address logging into 5 or 6 accounts every day. That’s a service many content marketing companies provide. Business people are just too busy to maintain all their social media platforms, blog, website, videos, etc. So they hire companies like ion Leap to do some or all of it for them.
I’m a big believer in Author Rank. It’s about time link farms got shut down and black hat practices were ended. Linking content and social credibility to authors is the best way to do that. Frankly, it’s brilliant. I’m surprised they haven’t pushed even harder to tie Author Rank to SERP ranking and to YouTube video credibility. I think Google should jump into this with both feet. But if they go so far as to prohibit content marketing agencies from plying our trade, then we’ll have a problem.
Change is in the air
I went looking to see if others suspect something is afoot. Apparently I’m pretty much alone in this suspicion. On Google Product Forums I found this from a user nicknamed “bkc56”, ‘Adding an account doesn’t link them, it just adds it to the list of accounts that have been used on that computer. There is nothing new or different in the way Gmail or Google account work now than a week ago. It’s just cosmetic changes in the sign-in page.’ That was posted in November 2013.
I’m sorry bkc56, I don’t buy it.
I think it does link them and we will eventually find ourselves held much more accountable for our ONE Google identity on all their properties.
Call me paranoid, but you heard it here first.
Further reading for the interested and the paranoid
Mother Jones News – “Is Google Evil?” This is a straight up serious article. The first few paragraphs shocked me and I couldn’t stop reading.
Wired.com – “Google is Evil” More of the same, not quite as damning as Mother Jones (but who is?)
Relevance.com Blog – “Will Google’s Backlash Against the NSA Result in 100% Keyword “Not Provided?” This one is a little confusing. I thought Google cooperated with the NSA. This article says they’re hiding our personal data from the NSA. If that’s the case, then they’re not actually evil, are they?
Search Engine Land from a 2010 article – “The Creepy Line and Beyond: It’s Not Just About Google” I love the writers at Search Engine Land. They lend great perspective. This privacy concern goes well beyond Google. It was written in 2010 but is just as relevant today.
Want your web searches to be private? Use Targ8. It’s a proxy server that searches all the search engines at once for you. Most importantly, Google will only see that you’ve visited the Targ8 website. Do a search, then you can click around the links and it will still only show as 1 visit to Targ8. Your searches and page visits will be masked from everyone. On all those websites you visit, the IP address that their visit software will see is from Targ8 servers, not yours.