Thursday, April 11, 2013

Google creepy is not the same as Facebook creepy

Google NOW has brought a totally new form of data analytics to my fingertips, and I like it. I am actually handing more information to Google than I would have, just to get this capability. I like that driving routes are suggested, with start times that match my appointments. I like that it knows just the right sports to inform me about, even when that sport is Hockey which the news media seems to know nothing about. This level of leveraging all the information that Google can find on me to bring me value is fantastic. This is what differentiates Google creepy from Facebook creepy.

When Facebook indicates that they are going to start to pull some new form of information, I don’t get the feeling that they are going to do this for my benefit. It is very clear that Facebook is gathering more information for their own benefit. Even their insistent plea to harvest my address-book. I am not going to expose my friends to more advertising through Facebook.

The first evidence that I as a user get from the gathering of data is valuable in the case of Google, and punitive in the case of Facebook. I know that Google is using my data to make money, I am a strong believer that if you are not paying for something, then you are the product and not the customer. The fact that Google makes money with my data is less creepy because Google gives me value. In fact Google gives me so much value that I go out of my way to give it more data. Whereas Facebook creeps me out so much that I avoid telling it many things.

Perception is more powerful than reality. The perception of value, even if it is not truly valuable, is what is important. The fact that Google Now gives me driving directions automatically rather than me doing a Google Search is a small step, so the actual value is small. The actual spend by Google is small. The perception of value is big.

Goldilocks Governance

Healthcare can learn from this. The value of a Health Information Exchange is great (What is the benefit of an HIE), the perception of creepy can also be great. Trust and doing what the consumer ‘expects’ is the bridging factors. The patient wants their data to be available to those that can provide the patient value. The patient wants their data to be protected against those that provide the patient no value. I coined the term “Goldilocks Governance” for this. Not too tight, not too loose, but just right.

This is also a consistent Privacy approach as outlined by the USA Whitehouse consumer privacy principles that was published just last year. This privacy philosophy recognizes that the consumer understands the context of their interaction as defined in "Privacy As Contextual Integrity" by Helen Nissenbaum. Which indicates that consumers do understand that their data will be used in specific ways, clearly in healthcare for treatment and billing, but also in healthcare they understand their data is used for public health benefits and other normal operational ways. This is otherwise described as the "Consumer Should Not Be Surprised." Meaning they should not be surprised that their data is used in some specific ways; yet also that it is right for them to be outraged at inappropriate uses of their data.