Sun Valley – Google’s Larry Page: Stop stressing about search data privacy

July 9, 2010

LarryPage at SunValley 2010Hey you Mr. Privacy Nut,

Google co-founder Larry Page has a message for you: Stop worrying about how data about your Web searching habits might be abused. Your search data is there to serve a greater good.

“It’s always easy to be fearful of a hypothetical bad thing that could happen in the future, and yet the data of these kinds of (search) logs and so on are actually very, very useful,” Page told reporters at a briefing in Sun Valley on Thursday.

He cited the company’s recent work using search data to figure out which regions in the US were experiencing flu outbreaks. Google was able to detect the flu more accurately than the government, Page said, and probably could save it tens of millions of dollars in the process.

Page said the company is also exploring whether search data could detect pandemics.

“I think the answer is probably yes, we will be able to do some things like that. That could possibly save a third of the world population,” he said.

“So you could sort of worry about well, there’s some possibility something bad will happen with search logs – I’m not sure what – nothing has really happened yet of significance. Or we’re moving very fast. There’s lots of new uses for the data. Once it’s deleted it’s gone. You can’t ever get it back.”

So there.  Don’t you feel selfish for worrying about privacy now…

(Photo: Reuters)

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