Quick, name the biggest fear or misgiving people have with a new Google project. Apart from the common (well-founded) meme that Google shuts down projects every few weeks, the biggest issue people have with the company is its utter disregard for user privacy. The company is, after all, a business built on selling user information.
So will the upcoming Stadia, Google’s streaming-only gaming platform, also take a cavalier attitude to how it handles user information, presuming it lasts more than a few months or years? According to Google’s Phil Harrison, the big boss of the Stadia platform, the answer is no—Google is planning to take user privacy very seriously with the Stadia.
“This is built on top of Google’s very robust privacy and personal information policy and we will not change that policy through Stadia,” he told GamesIndustry.
“The account you use for Stadia is built on top of your Google account, but of course you’ll be able to have an online persona that is distinct and different from your Google persona.
“We’re committed to protecting and respecting users’ privacy every step of the way.”
I think for me, the red flag here is that he specifies Google’s “very robust” privacy policies, which, at least from where I stand, are anything but. While Google is so pervasive that escaping their influence entirely is all but impossible, and for many, the trade for their services is a fair one, I have to imagine that there will be others like me who will continue to have misgivings about how Google is handling user information with Stadia. Hopefully, Google has some more concrete assurances in the coming months.
For more, make sure to check out how Google’s executives believe that Stadia has an advantage over local hardware thanks to not being limited by fixed hardware specs.