Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 - 12:02 AM

Google Talk… spyware?!

Recently, my Google Talk silently updated itself (hey!). This update apparently removed the ability to disable idle detection, resulting in Google Talk advertising me as being available to chat whenever I touch my computer.

I turn off idle detection because sometimes (often, in fact) when I’m using my computer, I don’t want to talk to anyone. Sure, I could log out of Google Talk or set myself as busy… but I don’t need Google to know my usage patterns, and I don’t mind people saying stuff to me even if I’m busy. I just don’t want to feel obligated to answer right away.

I spent a few minutes looking for the option to disable this invasion of my personal privacy, but didn’t find it… so I uninstalled Google Talk. Oh well.

4 Comments to “Google Talk… spyware?!”

  1. Fjarlq Says:

  2. Tim Says:

    Of course it is spyware. Why else would they provide you with free software?

  3. Tom Dalton Says:

    Yeah… Like that nasty “Linux” and “OpenOffice” spyware people keep pushing. Why else would anyone provide you with free software?

  4. Woody Thrower Says:

    Yeah… it seems pretty paranoid to assume that everything free is malicious. The “of course it is spyware” comment didn’t seem worthy of a response, so I just left it hanging. That may have had the unintended effect of making it seem as if I agreed.

    It was an invasion of privacy to have Google Talk update and start (without asking or even notifying me) telling people whether I was using my computer, but “spyware” may have been a bit strong.

    Regardless, the update made Google Talk unacceptable to me. If it were open source like Linux and Open Office, I (and many other people) would be able to fix the problem. Maybe Google fixed the problem, but I’ve moved on. Now I use Meebo. Meebo has some obvious potential privacy issues, and I don’t like seeing their blog every time I sign in, but for my purposes it beats the thick client solutions.

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