Google, as with many online services, tracks certain data and usage whether it be for advertisers or to improve their services for users on a much more personalized basis. Legally, one can only track so much, however, it seems that in their quest to learn more about the end user, they’ve setup a program called Screenwise which is essentially a data collection program
There’s basically two programs: One is installing a browser extension “that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them.” Currently, they’ve already received a large response and is closed at this time. What are they offering to people? A $5 Amazon gift card to sign up and then a $5 gift card for every three months they stick to the program for $25 in total.
The other program, Screenwise Panel, was offered exclusively to members of Knowledge Networks which appears to be some sort of research company. For those who join the program, they’ll receive $100 for signing up and then $20 each month they participate. What makes this program different from the other is that people are sent a router which also happens to be the data collector.
From the looks of it, people participating switch out their current router for the new one.
“If KN users opt to participate, they receive a black box, called the Screenwise Data Collector. The box sits on users’ home networks, acting as a router and WiFi access point that monitors the traffic of connected devices. According to the program’s FAQ, it captures a “household’s web access,” but doesn’t collect information from “other devices” in the house, such as game consoles.”
Would you allow all your web usage to be tracked if you were being compensated for it? How much would you have to be paid for it to be worth it?