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Google Will Pay You For Tracking Your Every Move

By - Source: CNET | B 36 comments

Google offers two plans that will pay users for sharing their Internet usage to the search engine giant and other third parties.

On the heels of announcing a new privacy policy that shares user data across all of its sites without an opt-out option, Google has introduced a service that will pay users with $25 worth of Amazon gift cards in exchange for tracking their every move on the Internet. The program is called Screenwise, and all users need to do is install a browser extension that sees where they go and what they do.

Google claims it's not out to snoop on everyone's dirty Internet habits, but to see where everyday people surf the World Wide Web. This information the Chrome plugin collects -- which will also track private browsing but won't connect the collected data with the actual user -- will supposedly be used to improve its own products and services like Gmail, Google+, Google Maps and more. Participants will receive a $5 Amazon gift card by simply installing the plugin, and then receive another $5 Amazon gift card for every three months they stick with the program.

Google is also offering an even more extensive and lucrative plan for those who don't mind sharing information from multiple computers. This second program involves setting up a data collector router to the local network in addition to installing the browser plugin. Google will pay participants $100 for just signing up, and then $20 per month for as long as the user participates. The maximum length is one year, and the plugin must be installed on all PCs located in the home.

To participate in Screenwise, interested users must be at least 13 years old, have a Google account, and use Google's Chrome browser. That said, those using the $25 plan can take a break from Google's poking and prodding by using Firefox or another browser. They can also simply "pause" the metering conducted by the Chrome plugin and resume at a later time.

Those who choose to get on the meatier plan may not have that option given that the hardware collects data. Even more, data collected through the router will be shared by third parties including "academic institutions, advertisers, publishers, and programming networks." Some of that data will be personally identifiable save for HTTPS traffic and private browsing.

"The panel - called Screenwise - is similar to those used by many market research companies," Google states. "This panel is designed to help us understand web usage better - such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and what types of sites are popular (or not). As a Screenwise Internet Trends panelist, you'll add a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them. What we learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone."

The Screenwise page currently states that Google has already received more applications than anticipated, so they're suspended until the search engine giant can make additional room at a later date. Still, is all this data sharing worth the money? It all sounds a little scary.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    richboyliang , February 14, 2012 2:35 AM
    sweet I'll take it!

    chrome for random surfing, firefox for porn ;) 
  • 12 Hide
    tipmen , February 14, 2012 2:37 AM
    Eh, I would rather not. At least they are willing to pay you money that they probably collect freely anyways.
  • 10 Hide
    GenericUser , February 14, 2012 2:35 AM
    Maybe if there was more money in it, but still, I wouldn't do it just on principle alone.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    GenericUser , February 14, 2012 2:35 AM
    Maybe if there was more money in it, but still, I wouldn't do it just on principle alone.
  • 22 Hide
    richboyliang , February 14, 2012 2:35 AM
    sweet I'll take it!

    chrome for random surfing, firefox for porn ;) 
  • 12 Hide
    tipmen , February 14, 2012 2:37 AM
    Eh, I would rather not. At least they are willing to pay you money that they probably collect freely anyways.
  • 5 Hide
    etk , February 14, 2012 2:57 AM
    Doesn't seem scary at all to me, at least they are upfront about it unlike some other companies *cough Apple cough* I can think of...but not really worth the hassle of setting it up for 5 or 20 bucks a month. They'll prob get a lot of info on people in college and such that have the time though.
  • 5 Hide
    builder4 , February 14, 2012 3:09 AM
    Why not install the plugin on chrome and use firefox or another browser to actually surf the web? Is there a minimum amount of time surfing with chrome needed to get the payments?
  • 2 Hide
    claec , February 14, 2012 3:22 AM
    I was all for it until I realized that its not a lump $25, its $5 to start, plus $5 every three months. Lame. My swagbucks + auto-reload extension gets me $5 for amazon every 4 days, and thats with an extension that doesn't spy on me :) 
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 14, 2012 4:19 AM
    Your soul belongs to me (evilgrin)
  • 2 Hide
    skaz , February 14, 2012 4:39 AM
    Think I'd rather just go work some OT.
  • 1 Hide
    phamhlam , February 14, 2012 5:14 AM
    For everyone here who wants to join this program, you are better off with Microsoft Bing Reward program which gives you more money in the long run than than Google. It is also doesn't stalk your every move but looks at the links you click on in Bing.
  • 1 Hide
    theuniquegamer , February 14, 2012 5:29 AM
    Is this offer is worldwide or limited to certain countries . If this is available for our country i will take it.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 14, 2012 6:55 AM
    Is this like how research hospitals can pay you to participate in studies but your information must remain strictly anonymous? Is this like how the scientists must educate research subjects about how their information will be used and what their information means? Is this like how the scientists can develop patents using your information and not give you a cut of the profits?
    nope.
    nope.
    and nope.
  • 2 Hide
    bbz , February 14, 2012 7:05 AM
    Is it good enough for them if I instal this plug-in on a VM? And then I'll connect to it for like 1 minute, once a week to browse some CNN, BBC and similar stuff :) 
  • 4 Hide
    randomizer , February 14, 2012 7:34 AM
    That's, what, 4 hours of work at minimum wage? 4 hours or 12 months? I know what I'd do.
  • 3 Hide
    Kreth , February 14, 2012 7:55 AM
    Holy batcrap why the fuck would you let someone monitor you ?
  • 1 Hide
    billybobser , February 14, 2012 8:18 AM
    $5 for 3 months of data.

    Fucking Ha Ha.

    I would consider selling out for £10-15 a month, which would net me something worthy in return.

    Wonder how successful this would be, selling all the data google wants for a palty $1.50 a month. You'd get paid more to fill out 1 survey, giving anonymous, small and focused data, instead of everything (daily habits, buying habits, interests, work related activities, banking)
  • 0 Hide
    trih , February 14, 2012 8:43 AM
    The sums are parenthetically low! I would want atleast us$150/months for this and I'm quite doubtful anyone would be willing to pay that money to see how i use msdn :) 
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 14, 2012 9:05 AM
    Quote:
    Google Will Pay You For Tracking Your Every Move

    Correction, they track your every move anyway, this is paying those they admit to tracking the every move of
  • 3 Hide
    house70 , February 14, 2012 10:55 AM
    A lot of people comments on this as if they were forced to install the damned plug-in. Don't like it, don't install it, easy as that.
  • 2 Hide
    aftcomet , February 14, 2012 11:25 AM
    house70A lot of people comments on this as if they were forced to install the damned plug-in. Don't like it, don't install it, easy as that.


    Well that's what people are saying...that they don't like. God forbid someone start a discussion on something.
  • 0 Hide
    guanyu210379 , February 14, 2012 11:29 AM
    $25/kbit for each activities done by me and you have a deal!
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