An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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November 14, 2006

One Checkbox, More Settings - a New Google Practice?

It's so nice to be helpful and provide options for your customers, don't you think? What if next time you install an update for your favorite music player you see this:

Your favorite music player has new features that will help you organize your music collection. Using Enhanced Media Library, you can automatically get metadata for your audio files, get recommendations and auto-playlists tailored to your music tastes. MusicRank is a new feature that shows you the popularity for each song you play.

* Enhanced Media Library and Hi-Fi Sound send usage data to our servers.

[.] Enable Enhanced Media Library and MusicRank.
[.] Disable Enhanced Media Library and MusicRank.

It's nice that I am offered a choice, but why mixing something useful (Enhanced Media Library) with something less useful and potentially confusing (MusicRank)? Google does this in Google Toolbar for Firefox with PageRank and Enhanced Safe Browsing. They use two radio buttons instead of two checkboxes for each feature.

They also do that in Google Toolbar for IE, where there's a single checkbox for two options: "Set Google as default search and notify me of changes".

In the same IE toolbar there's a single option for "PageRank and page information", where page information include the cached version of the page and links to the current page. Why mixing a feature that sends data to Google (that is PageRank) with other harmless features?

Google Desktop also has an option for "advanced features". But what are these options? "Information about web pages you visit may be sent to Google to personalize features such as the news shown in Sidebar. Other non-personal usage data and crash reports may be sent to Google to improve Desktop." But Google mixes a lot of things in this broad definition. It would be nice to have separate options for news personalization, crash reports etc.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.