Screenwise: Google Wants To Pay You To Let Them Watch

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

Update: Google responded to my request for comment shortly after this story ran. See here for details.

Google has begun accepting email addresses from people interested in participating in their new Screenwise program. The program is designed to monitor participants’ internet usage in order to help Google gather information about how people use the internet.

The Screenwise sign-up page features a description of the program and a place for you to enter your email address. Google promises to let users know when the program is ready to roll out. The program requires you to use Google’s Chrome browser. It works via a Screenwise extension that monitors your internet activities. In return you get a code for a $5 Amazon gift card as soon as you download the extension. After that you get another $5 gift card every three months for a year. For those of you who can’t math, that’s $25 in Amazon cards if you’re willing to let Google see what you’re doing on the internet for a year.

The fine print includes a few interesting details of the program. First of all, it suggests that the users may continue to use the extension after their initial year is up, and that Google will evaluate changes to the rewards program after the end of the year. The fine print also says that Google will forward all email addresses to Knowledge Networks, their management partner on the Screenwise project, and then immediately delete them. They also say that Knowledge Networks will not share your email address.

I sent a message to Google requesting comment. Specifically, I asked about the kind of data the screenwise extension will collect about participants’ web activities, and whether the extension’s monitoring will be turned off when users switch their Chrome browser into incognito mode. Google has not responded yet. Look for an update if and when they do.

What do you think about Screenwise? Is it a good idea, or just creepy? Let us know what you think in the comments.

  • http://www.barkauskas.lt Andrius

    That’s a total nonsense

  • sabrina

    Screenwise is good so that every one can know about the google products and can improve but there are lot of serious issues in this now a days and google prohibiting it because of this there is a chance of avoiding hackers and spammers too in the websites

    • scott brown


  • 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.

  • dovidMelech

    That’s really funny. Google already has access to sooooo much data, but they are limited by traffic within their sites. Now they would have data about internet traffic beyond the scope of what people click on through their search engine. Pretty scary if you ask me…