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My head is spinning. According to this post, +Matt Cutts says: "We do believe in the privacy. If users are logged into Google, they’re more likely to be doing a search that’s personal and they don’t want that to show up in the referrer."

That logic is completely reversed in my opinion. If I want to do something private, I would log out and/or use an incognito browser.

Why would anyone log in when doing something private? It would be like yelling your name before doing something you'd want to keep private. Please enlighten me.
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That's true...but not everyone on this planet knows about those simple steps to provide himself so called privacy (it's a myth anyway). And Google may say that they try to protect everyone, not just some more experienced users.
Yep - let's hope he's lying, because if he honestly believes it, we're dealing with a far worse scenario: the inability to think logically.
+Rand Fishkin I think that scenario is pretty inevitable. The organization has grown so large and powerful that they're trying to have their own reality distortion field. The only thing is, only Steve Jobs was ever really good at that.
Sure, I always log securely into my company's servers before I browse for porn. Who wouldn't?
Thomas, you just made perfect sense. They're still storing all of that signed-in user data. For what, and for whom is yet to be determined.
For the record, I certainly don't believe Google's being disingenuous or that they're not logical (ti yas ot diarfa m'I os em eracs yeht tub suounegnisid yllatot gnieb er'yeht kniht I yllautca)
He's using personalization with privacy interchangeably, even though I think we all know the difference.

Furthermore, studies show that the perception of security encourages more risky behavior. Therefore, logging out would likely make people less conscious of privacy, without understanding that their data is still available to those who pay.
Doesn't this only "protect" those who are going to non-ssl sites anyway? With Google's push in this direction, more sites will likely want to go SSL just to get that data - and of course if you are using google's tools you will see it in the data (though not quite as specifically as by referrer).
Most people I talk to do not understand what online privacy is. Even worse, some people have no expectation of privacy. The lack of concern over privacy is particularly acute amongst younger, Facebook users. I find that privacy seems to be a bigger concern among IT professionals than it is for the general public.
I agree Life. Most young people give out their information so freely these days. As a digital marketer, it's hard to walk that line of being open and available on these channels/the internet in general and maintaining personal privacy. I think about trashing my smart phone every day in exchange for a John's Phone.
Concern for privacy is not why Google does it I think:

1) If visitors come from google to my web after searching something, stuff they had searched for google associate with my web. Words visitors were searching for are close to my web content, othervise google would not promote my web to them. What is the point with the privacy here? Visitor searched for something I mention on my web.

2) I have no way to associate search term with the visitor's personal informations (birth date, name, address or tel. num.) unles user gives it to me. Only things I know about visitor are from web analytics: as time on site, content visited, ... I can not find any privacy concern here.

Google could at least tel us webmasters the truth why they want to hide search terms from us.
Respectfully +Matt Cutts ...why doesn't Google just come up with a search operator indicating a... {private search} and just don't report data for those? That way, whether or not someone is logged in, the data remains private... and marketers can keep getting the info they need to help future site visitors :-)
+Rand Fishkin, would you be interested in helping lobby for this? Is it a lost cause?
+Donnie Cooper That's a great idea. I'd certainly get behind it, but I think sadly, there's no way marketers can put pressure on Google here. They've got the politics and messaging sewn up from a PR perspective.
Sorry, late to the part on this one and will probably get some hear for not agreeing, but... I think you guys are a bit off. Logging into a secure sever to do something private is what you're actually supposed to do. The idea of using an incognito browser is good, but not something most people would ever think to do (or even know is a possibility to do). I've said it before, it is far too easy to point at Google and any other large company and claim that their action are seditious in nature when changes are made. I'm not being naive when I say that Google may in fact be doing this purely for the reasons it is saying it is doing it and nothing else (I know that's the part I'll get the heat for, bur trust me when I say, I am neither naive or that trusting of big companies, but sometimes, a banana is just a banana).

I'm not happy about the changes to reporting either, but I think the conjecture behind the motives and the over reporting of its effects have gotten way out of hand. Adapt and move on... we've got bigger fish to fry.
+Jeff Ferguson I think it is a totally fair point that most people don't think about using incognito browser. But I have a hard time thinking these people will think of signing into secure servers.

And, more importantly, signing into Google secure server does not protect your privacy as Google knows exactly what you are searching for (vis-a-vis logging our or using incognito browser).

And I agree that there are bigger fishs to fry. But I don't like the loss of data, nor the hypocrisy of all this.
+Thomas Høgenhaven that's just it, people won't think about signing in securely, it will just happen via gmail, G+, AdWords, Analytics, etc.

That said, give me a little more on how this is hypocrisy, maybe I'm just not seeing that side.

Data loss I can dig, but was it really yours to lose or theirs to give?
If Google was really concerned about the privacy, they wouldn't sell the very same data they won't give away for free.

And it's hypocrisy because it seems very likely that they stop providing data to prevent adsense competitors succeeding:

And fair point: it's Google's data and they can use it as they see fit. I just don't like how they break an old tradition of the web of passing on referral data.
+Thomas Høgenhaven Fair point on the idea that the data is still available to AdWords advertisers vs. organic users, but that's the only one so far. I would be more convinced if google was actually charging for that data, and discerning it from the rest of the data, rather than just continuing what they had been doing all along.

I've heard the Adsense theory and as someone who used to work that scene fairly well (I ran the search campaigns for, I can tell you we weren't that dependent on that data so much that a 10% drop would have thrown our numbers. Plus, again, this is a sector that is fraught with abuse, so if it was their reason, they had every right to do so. Still, if it was their reasoning, why only do a portion when they could do it all with the same amount of backlash?

Again, I'm not saying google is an innocent corporation; at this size, they are bound to make a greedy decision or two. However, I don't know if this is really one of them and the conjecture around it is not equal to the change. 
+Thomas Høgenhaven and +Jeff Ferguson how can there be anything here which can be considered "Google's data"?  Google is merely logging a word a stranger chooses to use from one national language or other, which Google then decides ~ somewhat capriciously it would seem ~ either to use as the basis for providing a link to your website, or another? i.e. Joe Public > arbitrary word > your website > your content.

This is the same kind of non-thinking which allows copyright laws to lay claim to the human genome. Well maybe not so important, but the principal is the same. The right to use in the public interest, far outweighs any corporate property claim.

But what seems to be getting lost here is the fundamental shift in a freedom being imposed on everyone ~ not just us SEOs ~ by the self-serving desires and barefaced lies of yet another monopolistic corporation.
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