Would you pay for Google Services if there were no adverts?

I must admit that I rather like the various Google services such as Picasa, Gmail and the recently renamed Drive. Mainly as they just work, are reliable and are very easy to use. Indeed these features when coupled with the cloud nature of each app means you no-longer need a fast computer and you can  completely avoid installation and the update problem which plague most (read Windows) machines. Also as Google takes responsibility for the apps and data storage in theory at least you should avoid problems with malware and viruses.  – although I suspect an expert in this area could prove me wrong. So, until this point the Google apps are cool, but all is not so nice. As everyone knows Google scans your data to sell you advertising, their terms of use promise not to use their data for anything other than to improve the services they offer you. This all sounds nice, but as a few colleagues have pointed out they could scan your cool ideas that are in your docs then in theory copy your concepts and trying to prove this would be next to impossible. This means that many people I know really don’t like using Google for anything and many even refuse to do so. Also as Google is a US company the chances are you will lose most if not all of the nice data protection rights that you already enjoy if you are in the EU.

Anyway Google already charge for some services and they even offer accounts for businesses where they promise not to scan your data. The question is really how much are each of us worth to them in terms of advertising? Also would you pay to opt out of having your data scanned? I already pay for the extra storage on Picasa and given I previously paid for the awful .Mac email service I would be prepared to do exactly the same here. However, perhaps we are all Scottish after all and would prefer to not part with our hard earned cash 🙂





About Rod McCall

Rod McCall is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction in areas such as augmented reality, mobile gaming in-car systems and virtual environments. He has a passing interest in economics after not being entirely convinced by the rubbish presented as fact during lectures on that particular subject while at uni.
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