Google is looking for people to voluntarily give up some of their privacy as part of a research panel to "help us make Google better". What's in it for you? Up to $25 -- in Amazon gift cards.
Google describes the project -- dubbed the Screenwise Panel-- as an effort to learn more about the sites you visit and how you use them in order to make Google and its products "a better online experience for everyone."
Participants can sign up here and websites they visit and other analytics are tracked through a browser extension they opt to add on. Panelists receive a $5 Amazon gift card just for signing up and get additional $5 cards for every three months they stay on as participants. Google writes that Amazon is not a sponsor of this project.
SlashGear clarifies that the project is not intended to track you as an individual but simply to collect information about how browsers work with the Web. Google has said in a statement to SlashGear that such a project is similar to what many would institute to conduct market research:
“Like many other web and media companies, we do panel research to help better serve our users by learning more about people’s media use, on the web and elsewhere. This panel is one such small project that started near the beginning of the year. Of course, this is completely optional to join. People can choose to participate if it’s of interest (or if the gift appeals) and everyone who does participate has complete transparency and control over what Internet use is being included in the panel. People can stay on the panel as long as they’d like, or leave at any time.” – Google Spokesperson
The Electronic Privacy Information Center recently announced that would be suing the Federal Trade Commission for not exerting its authority over Google's policy changes. EPIC's lawyers state that by not enforcing a consent order on Google, FTC is "placing the privacy interests of literally hundreds of millions of Internet users at grave risk."