Matt’s got a great post and comment section going on the issue of online privacy. His point is well taken – Google stores less information about you than most other players online and your ISP is the place that has a history of *all sites visited* where Google would have somewhat less information.
My take on this is the same as it’s been for some time – the dangers are more likely to come from commercial abuses than governmental ones. Here’s what I wrote over there:
Matt this is an excellent post and comments conversation. Battelle was just talking privacy at his (neat!) online forum today. I’m guilty of “forgetting” that ISPs have more info about users than Google, and that it’s probably via ISPs or Carnivore-style intrusions that people’s privacy will be compromised, not via Google.
However, there are commercial issues that need to be addressed and IMHO are very poorly dealt with by Google and others. As a user I should own my own stuff, not the company making the application I use to produce stuff. This includes reviews, comments, and even search data. This ownership is routinely compromised, and this will piss people off more and more as they come to understand the big picture.