Google frickin’ loves data, sucking it up with a seemingly unquenchable appetite. Now the more privacy conscious among you will balk at the idea of that, and to Google's credit, it lets you tell it to keep its data sniffing out of your internet personal space. But to Google, I say, “Go ahead, have your fill.”
Is that because I love to be tracked? Well, not really, though Google Maps’ record of where the heck I’ve trekked to after a night of heavy drinking is excellent. No, it’s because Google will occasionally pay me to give it some slithers of granular data. This is thanks to the Google Opinion Rewards app.
Available on Android (opens in new tab) and iOS (opens in new tab), this Google app basically serves up surveys, prompting you to answer them; at the end, it gives you some credit for spending in the Play Store or PayPal, all for tapping through some answers that take less than 10 seconds.
Sure, this isn’t a get-rich-quick app. But over time the credit from the surveys adds up, sometimes at quite a rate. And soon you'll find you have enough credit to buy a mobile game or perhaps a movie to download onto your phone or tablet.
From doing this I’ve managed to pay for in-app purchases, buy a couple of games and get a digital download of 2021’s Dune. All in all, my rewards have totaled to £54.24 in Play Store credit (that’s roughly $61 or AU$96) — not bad for what must be cumulatively only a few minutes of work over the past few years.
Of course, this does raise the uneasy question of whether I’m giving up too much information to Google, given it will know the date and location of a particular store I entered and if I spent any money in there. Were that data ever to be used to monitor me and decide if I’m worthy of healthcare support given I happen to be visiting a local fast food spot several times a week, or something to that effect, that would be alarming. But that's more of a future dystopian problem to concern ourselves with later.
And on close inspection of the app, on Android Google Opinion Rewards assures users that data isn't shared with third parties, is encrypted and can be subject to an independent security review. Users also can request for the data to be deleted. On iOS, the app claims data is aggregated and the answers are anonymous and not linked to any personally identifiable information. So that’s reassuring, though I’m sure if anyone wanted to know more about me, they could easily find that out online without needing leaked Google data — such is the internet-centric lives many of us now lead.
My only other concern is there's something of a Pavlov's dog situation here, whereby as I'm rewarded for competing each survey, I now get a slight flutter of excitement every time I get a notification that a new survey is ready. So much for being a strong independent thinker...
Nevertheless, at a time when the cost of living is getting more expensive and people need to be more selective on what they spend their money on, I can thoroughly recommend giving Google Opinion Rewards a go. It’s giving you free money or credit for very little effort and not really that much data. Yet, thanks to Google Opinion Rewards payouts, you could let you snag one of the best Android games without spending any of your hard-earned cash. That’s a win-win for Google and me, and a no-brainer app that you should try today.