Google 'trusted' more than Facebook

1 September 2014

LOS ANGELES: When it comes to how organisations handle personal information, more Americans trust Google and LinkedIn, the social networking sites, than the US government or Facebook, a new survey has found.

Almost half (47.2%) of Americans trust Google with their information, nearly a third (32.9%) trust LinkedIn, the professional social network, but less than a quarter (23.2%) trust the US government, according to MyLife, the privacy management firm.

Interestingly, although the majority of the survey's 4,000 respondents do not trust any of these three organisations, the US government is still more trusted than Facebook, which is trusted by just 17.1% of US consumers.

While these findings may be viewed relatively positively by Google, the company still came under the spotlight after it emerged that it had removed an app called Disconnect Mobile from the Android Play app store, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Disconnect Mobile, which was available in Google's store for just six days and was downloaded 5,000 times, is a privacy tool that prevents other apps from collecting data on users.

However, Google informed the San Francisco-based startup that it violated a rule prohibiting software that "interferes" with other apps.

Disconnect argued that it had been careful to build its product according to Google's policies, but suggested these rules are so vague that it means, in effect, Google can ban any app in its store.

"It's like a Kafka novel – you're getting kicked out or arrested for reasons you don't even know," said Casey Oppenheim, co-founder of Disconnect, who also implied that Google didn't want ad-blocking apps to interfere with its commercial interests.

Data sourced from MyLife, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff