Google Says Apple Is Making Privacy A ‘Luxury Item’

Google Says Apple Is Making Privacy A ‘Luxury Item’

Battle lines are being drawn. In the red corner, we have the Search Giant of Mountain View – Google. In the blue corner, coming from Cupertino we have the Fruitiest Computer of All – Apple. The two companies have launched a war of words over your data and how Apple is making privacy a ‘luxury item’. Is that true?

The real battle is competition between two business models. Apple sells hardware that fits into an ecosystem of apps and services. The hardware is an essential component because of the way the company designs usability, privacy and security into the experience.

Depending on your perspective, and I think both views are valid, it’s either a walled garden or a vertically integrated approach.

Google’s approach to products and services is very different. For a start, Google has always been in the data business. Even in its earliest days, the company collected and indexed data in order to deliver a service faster.

Today, it uses vast quantities of data to power its artificial intelligence endeavours, speech recognition and the transition from a company that lets you find things into one that lets you do things, to paraphrase the words of Aparna Chennapragada, the Vice President of Google’s AR, VR, and Vision-based Products.

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In an interview with The Independent, Apple’s Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said “We have no interest in learning all about you as a company, we don’t want to learn all about you, we think your device should personalise itself to you”.

That was, apparently, in response to comments by Google CEO Sundar Pichai who said in The New York Times “privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services”.

The take home message here is simple. As a consumer, you have the power to make decisions about who gets your data. The problem is that, in many cases, your data is the currency that’s being traded. So, when you want to access something, you’re buying it with a tidbit of data.

It’s possible to use Google’s services and limit the amount of information you share and to clear your data from Google, although that does little to delete your Google shadow profile.

And, you can use apps and services that protect your from website trackers and other tools used to collect data about you.

I’m not sure it’s possible to use anything on the internet today and not be tracked in some way. But a good place to start is by ensuring you only share the bare minimum data you possibly can.


  • Google are trying to shift the focus away from their utter contempt for the privacy and security of their users.

    With Google, you know that no amount of money will buy you these things.

    • Agree. It does seem spin that Pichai practically comes out and says because their products are cheap(er), they can’t be private. He’s barking up the wrong tree if he thinks Apple will change their standards to match Google’s approach to making money… because in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

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