Google is under scrutiny from privacy groups again, but this time it's not alone.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), and the World Privacy Forum have asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the practices of Google, Yahoo, and other companies as they build profiles of their users by collecting and combining data; practices that the group says result in potential privacy breaches .
According to comScore, which measures Internet traffic, Americans conducted 3 percent more online searches in January than in December. That's surprising, since assumptions are that people would do the most Web searching in December to find the perfect holiday gifts at the lowest price.
It's not at all surprising that the Google search engine hosted the majority of searches in January, totaling 65 percent of all searches. That's down 0.3 percent from Google-hosted searches in December, says comScore's most recent monthly report. Yahoo also lost 0.3 percent of search market share in January compared to December, but unlike Google it has been on a steady decline for months. In January it accounted for 17 percent of all searches.
As we all know, there's a lot of information out there-from magazines to blogs, there is more content than anyone could possibly consume in a lifetime. I don't even have time to read Page Six anymore, which says a lot. Sure, a maddening percentage of it is either garbage or recycled garbage. The problem is that a lot of it is stuff you could use. The biggest worry is of missing something useful that you didn't realize you needed to know.
How do we know that the holiday season has begun? Because Google is spreading cheer in the form of free Wi-Fi at 47 U.S. airports until Jan. 15.
"We're very happy to extend our holiday Wi-Fi gift to the millions of people who will spend time in airports over the next few months," said Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of search products and user experience. Google says it's working with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and others on the Wi-Fi gift.