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Google Calendar Live – Are There Google Calendar Privacy Issues?

Google Calendar Live – Are There Google Calendar Privacy Issues?

Yes, the highly anticipated Google Calendar is now live at calendar.google.com, for all your calendar needs. A bit more from TechCrunch:

“My overall impression: Excellent. The abilit to share via web publishing or RSS shows Google’s commitment to an open stardard. And this application is impressive in its speed and stability.”

A few standout features of Google Calendar:

  • You can share your calendar with other people, so now there’s literally NO excuse for missing something.
  • Already mentioned Gmail integration, but here’s more info: “Add your friend’s Super Bowl party to your calendar without ever leaving your Gmail inbox. Gmail now recognizes events mentioned in emails.”

I had some extra time this morning and decided to read the Google Calendar Privacy Policy:

“Google takes your privacy as seriously as our own. We won’t share your personal information with anyone, except under the limited circumstances required by law.”

I haven’t seen that phrase over at Google before (and after doing a quick search I didn’t find any more instances of it throughout Google); here’s some more privacy stuff of interest:

“Google employees will not read your private calendar information except in the limited circumstances described in the “Information Sharing” section of our Privacy Policy.”

The privacy policy is an interesting read for anyone who’s been following the ongoing Google and Privacy debate; it’s debatable and still early to tell if this is going to be an issue for Google Calendar users, but in my personal opinion, it’s always best to read the fine print. Here’s an example:

“Every ninety days, if not more frequently, we permanently delete usage statistics associated with your use of Google Calendar. We retain this information beyond 90 days in aggregate form only.”

“In order to manage your invitations, when you invite other people to Calendar events, we collect and maintain information associated with those invitations, including email addresses, dates and times of the events, and any responses from guests.”

“Google Calendar enables you to make all or part of your calendars (1) private and inaccessible by other users (2) accessible only by certain people of your choosing, or (3) accessible by the general public, including via Google web search.”

“Because of the way we maintain this service such deletion may not be immediate, and residual copies of your calendar information may remain on backup media.”

So what do you think? Privacy nightmare, or Google calendar heaven? I’m sure that the EFF will weigh in on this soon, but until then, please leave your initial thoughts about Google Calendar and possible privacy infringements in the comments below.

 Google Calendar Live   Are There Google Calendar Privacy Issues?
Wendy Boswell is the Editor for About Web Search and part of the New York Times Company.
 Google Calendar Live   Are There Google Calendar Privacy Issues?
 Google Calendar Live   Are There Google Calendar Privacy Issues?

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5 thoughts on “Google Calendar Live – Are There Google Calendar Privacy Issues?

  1. Hmmm… just what would Google want with my ‘event’ info?

    Where I live?

    Where I eat?

    Which types of restaurants I invite friends to?

    Which types of coffee houses I use for meetings?

    Wonder if next time I’m meeting with someone at Tully’s Coffee about a search engine marketing campaign if a Google AdWords representative will walk up to the table and hand my prospective client their card and a $50 coupon.

    Or better yet, be standing outside the window with Coffee or SEM AdSense Ads printed on a sheet of poster board!

  2. Ha! Then a YPN rep will walk by with a Poster Board full of VOIP and PaymyBills.com advertisements.

  3. In order to manage your invitations, when you invite other people to Calendar events, we collect and maintain information associated with those invitations, including email addresses, dates and times of the events, and any responses from guests.

    What exactly is wrong with that statement?
    How else are they supposed to organise and corellate invited events? Voodoo??

  4. I reckon it’s really way cool and well done. Microsoft are way behind now…

    So nice to be able to invite family and friends simply.

    I would like a desktop G Calendar button that would be nice and/or mege with G Mail.

    Privacy issues? Unless it’s top secret there should be no issues???

    Well done Google.

    http://www.livinglavidalocal.com

  5. I think that the point is that this information, your friends/clients/whatever, could potentially be hacked and sold. I don’t think it’s an issue that they’re going to start stalking you or anything… more that they could start sending your unsolicited information, selling your information to other companies, etc.