Google Clarifies Screenwise Program

    February 8, 2012
    Shaylin Clark
    Comments are off for this post.

This morning we brought you news of Google’s Screenwise program. Participants in Screenwise install an extension in their Google Chrome browser that lets Google monitor their internet activity. Participants are compensated with a $5 gift code to Amazon as soon as they install the browser extension, and another every three months for a year, totally $25 in Amazon credit for participating in the program.

As part of this morning’s story I contacted Google’s PR department about the program. Shortly after the story ran, a Google spokesperson got back to me with the following statement:

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.

So it looks like Screenwise is a fairly ordinary market research panel, just with a browser extension in place of a questionnaire. Participants have a high degree of control over exactly what Google sees and for how long. Google is apparently also shooting for a small focus group-type program. In fact, the Screenwise sign up page no longer has a place to put your email address. Instead visitors to the site are greeted with the message, “We appreciate and are overwhelmed by your interest at the moment. Please come back later for more details.”

What do you think of Screenwise? Did you sign up for the program? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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  • Santra

    we have to add a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how we use them. What we learn from you, and others like we, will help them improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone. this is screenwise program

  • Scott

    Even if YOU don’t want to give up your privacy your neighbors might be doing it for you. If they sign up and add Google’s hardware they turn their house into a beacon for your entire neighborhood.

    Google’s done this before with their street view cameras in europe, they even claimed that they recorded and accessed wi-fi by accident when they knowingly set it up. Beware, and speak up if your privacy matters to you.