Google, I wish I knew how to quit you. Thatâ€™s the frustration felt by Patience Oâ€™Connor, who has put much of her sensitive personal and professional information on Gmail and other Google programs and doesnâ€™t want the company to use that data to create a detailed profile of her.
Oâ€™Connor said sheâ€™s overwhelmed by the thought of starting over with a new e-mail service, transferring her contacts, and combing through thousands of messages to retrieve family pictures and legal documents.
Thatâ€™s what Google and other Web firms are counting on as they tap consumers for more information about their lives, analysts say. Once youâ€™re hooked on one service, itâ€™s hard to switch. […]
Google will begin Thursday creating far more comprehensive profiles of its users by following their activities across the companyâ€™s Web sites. From videos watched on YouTube to the terms typed in a Google search, tracking such behaviors will enable the firm to sell ads better suited to its customersâ€™ tastes.
Users wonâ€™t be able to opt out. If they donâ€™t like the change, Google has said, they can avoid signing into their accounts or stop using Google products altogether.
But thatâ€™s easier said than done, experts say. For the 350 million people using Gmail around the world, moving to a new e-mail program is perhaps more inconvenient than changing a mailing address or a bank account.