Just how “evil” is Google? Well, it probably depends on who you ask. There were plenty of people spreading the rumor that Google was stealing all your content, when really they were just doing normal Internet-y stuff, like allowing you to upload, store, and post it. You’ve always retained copyright. The good news is that Google’s new Terms of Service are a lot clearer about that. They’re also simpler and apply across all services, except when the service itself says otherwise (open source software allows you to modify it, for example.)
Google also assures us that they’re not going to tie DoubleClick advertising info with personally identifying information unless you opt in. Better hope that opt in option is obvious and clear. Google has my phone number, credit card information, and address. It’s bad enough that they’re taunting across websites. I don’t need my banner ads to call me by name.
The bad, the ugly. This means Wil Wheaton’s rule applies tenfold. If you get caught breaking the rules, you can be locked out of everything you use on most of the Internet. Google still needs to work on their tools to get people out of that situation if they break rules unknowingly, are hacked, or end up being falsely accused.
What do you say? Are you ditching the Google come March 1st, are you launching a protest, or are you just going to passively accept that they knew all your personal data anyway and enjoy the integrated services?