I was willing to believe that Google had no criminal intent in collecting Wi-Fi payload data, but they just irritated the heck out of me with the privacy implications of their new background images approach. Thinq explains:
Unless you’ve spent the day sleeping under a log, you’ll probably have noticed that Internet search engine Google has followed in the footsteps of rival Bing, and installed a choice of pretty pictures as backgrounds for its search page.
Click the ‘Change background image’ link at the bottom left of the screen, and you’ll be taken straight to a login page where you can either sign up for or access a Google account.
The same is true of all localised versions of Google, as well as the site’s much-trumpeted secure version, whose URL begins with ‘https://’.
Signing up for a Google account enables the search engine to log all of your search information and tie it to a specific user account – along with the IP address of the computer you’re searching from.
Ah. Maybe that’s the point.
Read more on Thinq
Google’s Official Blog does not seem to address the issue at all and there are no instructions when you follow the “Change background image” link as to how to just continue using the homepage as you always did.
Update: Link to ThinQ removed after it was bought out by an unrelated firm that now redirects to advertising.