February 3, 2023

Can anyone explain what's going on here? Should I be opting out?

Email from Google:


Leland said...

Google is advertising for content creators to move to substack.

Achilles said...

Google is in constant negotiation with governments around the world with respect to how much they are allowed to spy on you and store your personal information.

They are also constantly negotiating on how tightly bound your identity and the information they gather on you are kept together.

This is just the latest result of those negotiations.

Google can predict your physical location over 80% of the time even if they aren't tracking your phone.

They can identify you through a thermal camera by the gate of your walk better than a fingerprint.

Most of the negotiations they have with governments is how much information they have to share with the government.

And opting out is pointless. They are just required to go through those motions to make people think they have a choice.

traditionalguy said...

Sounds like a High Tech she’ll game. Whatever you pick, they will manipulate the results as the chose. More of their motto: it’s not who votes, it’s who counts the votes.

hombre said...

It's a good idea to opt out of everything Google. They are opportunistic leftist sleezebags - maybe also criminals.

minnesota farm guy said...

If you can find a worthy substitute you should opt out of Google. Although they have not gotten as bad press as Twitter I think that they are the king of evil, controlling and slanting the bulk of the searches done on the internet.

Will Cate said...

Do you already use the Google Analytics? If not, since Google owns Blogger I'm guessing they set it up for you, perhaps w/o mention. If it was me, I'd opt for the "let them do it for me" choice. But I do recall a few years ago when converting your voluminous archive from one platform to another was an issue.

Mark O said...

I have no idea, but it cannot be good for users.

Rusty said...

One step closer to Skynet.

Original Mike said...

The first question is it related to your blogger account or not?

Ann Althouse said...

"Do you already use the Google Analytics?"

Yes, but the form of it I have is going to end and needs to be changed to some new version. At first they were telling me things I needed to do — code I needed to add to my blog — in order to continue after the shift in July. Now, I'm getting email tlling me they'll do it for me unless I opt out.

So at first, I tried to figure out what they were telling me to do and it was just too confusing. I didn't want to figure it out and I didn't want to trust myself to add something to the code.

Maybe a lot of people were refusing to act, because now the message seems to have changed to the idea that they will make the change for me, but I'm given a chance to opt out. I'm likely not to be able to figure out how to opt out or to trust myself to do it right. So that might mean they just made it easier for non-tech people to go through the change.

But maybe I should be suspicious. Maybe there's reason to opt out. Maybe I don't *want* this new code in my blog. I can't figure that out either. That's where I'm seeking help.

Here are the 2 links in the email:



rhhardin said...

There's no telling what it means. Take no action puts you in the best legal position when you're sent something beyond comprehension, using the beyond comprehension defense.

I know Amazon targets me, suggesting an array of CPU fans after I had bought one CPU fan.

Ann Althouse said...

I could just get rid of Google Analytics.

Blogger has it's own stats, so I can see the number of visitors to the blog and to individual posts.

Analytics has a lot more information — demographics of the readers and so forth, but I'm not doing a website where I'm all about maximizing things and monetizing. I don't even have ads anymore.

Narr said...

Out on the tech ice floe for the old and set in their ways . . .

Enigma said...

Google became positively creepy over the last 5 years, as reflected by mobile location tracking, voice recognition, and incremental pollution/corruption/filtering of search.

Recall that following the events of Jan 6 -- where the plotting occurred on Facebook -- Big Tech teamed up to rapidly kill Parler for either monopolistic advantages or to stop pre-crimes that never happened (i.e., see The Minority Report story/film). After that I moved away from Google and Big Tech to the extent possible.

@hombre: As a rule of thumb, every mega-corp changes terms for their favor. Those lawyers have to find a way to justify their salaries and stymie competitors. You're likely signing away a little more of your independence with every revision.

@Althouse: Opt out. Out of the blue Google told me they were switching my (inactive) Gmail account confirmation method, so I immediately switched it back. Every change favors the corporation rather than end users. Also consider moving from the creaky old Blogger to an independent platform.

maximusK said...

I suggest you look at moving your stuff to Substack.

Temujin said...

It depends on how much data you need, or want to continue to run your blog. I don't know how much you track and how much of the data on your readers you regularly note.

I think that, yes, most Google users probably got the blank stares in their eyes and did not know how to respond to Google. And after awhile they noted it and offered to do it for you. But they have to offer an obligatory 'opt-out' though I don't think any of us have any option of opting out from any of this in any form for the rest of our lives- as long as we use the internet and some sort of device to login.

Yes, you should probably let them handle the changeover. And yes, you should probably be suspicious. But it's their playground and they can set the rules. I don't know if there's another avenue for you and it seems you only recently went through that kind of search and did not like it one bit. I say, stay the course and we'll stay it with you. Until they start coming for us at night, one at a time. Slowly your commenters fade away...

I, for one always assume these comments are monitored by someone, somewhere. Such is the modern United States.

Ann Althouse said...

The people who are talking about Substack are just confusing me. My question is not about Blogger but about Google Analytics. This is a service that counts the clicks to my website and gives me info about who is clicking. Like what percent male versus female and where in the world they're from. It's not that useful to me on a continuing basis and I'm not involved in pitching myself to advertisers, etc.

Ann Althouse said...

Blogger has its own simple stat counter. I don't need the sophisticated analytics

Charlie said...

Basically, Google is updating the capabilities and the GUI in analytics. V4 requires a new site code. They will make the necessary changes for you if you do nothing. I just did the update on my Wordpress site and it was a number of steps, permission grants, a new plugin, but in the end it seems to have worked. I suspect if you do nothing at all you'll discover that they'll just migrate you to the new version after the deadline.

Rabel said...

It's confusing isn't it. It almost seems intentionally so.

After reading a little I'm still unsure what will happen if you "opt-out."

I am pretty sure that it does not mean removing GA from your system but instead will leave you with a dead legacy program.

I'd take a shot at removing it entirely now. The first step is a suspiciously harder than the rest of them:

"You need the Editor role to move an account to the Trash Can. Moving an account to the Trash Can also moves all component properties and views to the Trash Can. To move an Analytics account to the Trash Can:

1. Remove the Analytics tracking code from all your web pages or from your app.
2. Sign in to Google Analytics.
3. Click Admin.
4.In the ACCOUNT column, use the menu to select the account you want to delete.
5.In the ACCOUNT column, click Account Settings.
6.Click Move to Trash Can."

Everything I just wrote is probably wrong!

But I tried.

Will Cate said...

"Blogger has its own simple stat counter. I don't need the sophisticated analytics"

Then I would opt out.

Aggie said...

Google is the oily, corporate creep in our world, and I think we all recognize the aversion when we feel it. A couple of years ago I remember when Amazon did something similar with their Ring Cameras and other enabled Smart Devices, the so-called 'sidewalk', where data was going to be shared between all of these home devices to create a seamless network that would supposedly help people to discover where they lost their telephone or car keys, or identify porch bandits and so forth. People owning these devices were given the opportunity to 'opt out' of this proto-Skynet, but you had to know where to go and what to do in order to accomplish the goal. It wasn't straight forward, and still isn't, as far as I know.

I would guess the overwhelming majority was overwhelmed by the chore, and simply took the easier-by-design path to be automatically opted-in. And of course for every device you've consciously opted out, there are probably 5 more in your household that you're not aware of, busily pinging away your ice cream indiscretions and so on.

Coop said...

Default position on anything tech related is generally to opt out and not just for Google. Like Apple giving you an opt out if advertising cookies or when you install a new app on your phone and it wants to access various things. In most cases, you can opt back in if you recognize after the fact there is a need. If that option is closed off, then it is even more suspicious and you made the right choice.

Not an engineer but work in tech and this is the the stance my engineers will recommend with our clients when working on projects. The tech vendors are coming at clients from every direction trying to gather information and unless it affects performance or the opt in component is critical to the business mission, always turn things off.

Ray - SoCal said...

Do nothing

Google analytics is aimed more at sites focused on revenue.

Blogger is an afterthought for Google, and analytics.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Google Translate should convert it to plain English for you.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Blogger has its own simple stat counter. I don't need the sophisticated analytics

The simplicity of these twin statements is beautiful and the logic airtight. That it deprives Google of even more data to store on your visitors for Google's benefit and not yours is icing on the cake, as they say. Google hoovers up too much already.

Biff said...

In general, opting out of automated migration to Google Analytics 4 (aka GA4) is for people who:

(1) significantly customized their existing Google Analytics settings and want to migrate their customizations manually,
(2) want to create new analytic settings to take advantage of capabilities unique to GA4, or
(3) want to stop using Google Analytics entirely.

Assuming that you like getting more information than what Blogger's Statistics page gives you and that you did not do a lot of customization of the old Google Analytics platform, I recommend letting Google migrate you automatically to Google Analytics (GA4).

If you do not like the new GA4 environment, you can decide to remove it entirely or to find someone who can adjust it to your preferences. (Keep in mind that no matter what you do, the old Google Analytics environment is going away completely.)


By default, the new version of Google Analytics (GA4) complies more readily with privacy laws like GDPR, and it also does a better job at capturing visits across mobile devices. Although it's still called Google Analytics, it really is a new product, so it will look and act a bit differently from the old/current Google Analytics.

Manually switching from the old version to the new version can be daunting, even for experienced professionals. I count myself as a technically sophisticated user, and I decided it wasn't worth the effort to try to migrate my own blogs manually to GA4. I'll let Google do it for me and see if the result is useful.

Tomcc said...

If you aren't using their analytics, then opting out would be my preferred option. I'm still simmering over the fact that Google (Gmail) "reads" my incoming email and offers helpful responses. There's no 'opt-out' AFAIK.

rhhardin said...

Windows 11 always asks me to finish setting it up when I reboot. The ultimate opt-out.

Olympiaguy said...

Based on my years of I/T experience I suspect ... Google has Universal Analytics standard (UA Standard) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

GA4 has more capabilities than UA Standard, both for you and for them. Google does not want to spend the money to support both UA Standard and GA4. So they are sun setting UA Standard and offering you the choice to migrate to GA4 with your choice of property settings or let them do it for you with settings that will look like UA Standard. Alternatively, you may opt out.

If you are happy with the statistics you get from Blogger and have no need or desire to get the Google capabilities, opt out. If you do want to keep the Google capabilities, since you are not a coder, do nothing and let them set up the properties for you.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The following is a direct quotation from my son who two years ago started work with Google to improve UX [user experience]. Before that hhe spent 20 years as Lead Aviation Software Developer for IBM, so I presume he knows what he's doing and talking about.

Ignore it completely. At some point your "G Suite" account probably had an option to enable a feature called Google Analytics (GA) where you could, for example, embed something in your marketing emails (!!) to track how people interacted with them. Or your business website.

Probably is just sitting there idle never having collected any information.

GA4 is version 4 of it.

Lots of Privacy Regulators Trying To Look Important In Their Home Prefectures have within the last 18 months decided that recording someone's public IP address is a Private Personal Information, and google is Very Bad for offering to continue to collect IP information via GA.

So the courts are basically forcing GA4 (which is a downgrade in many ways) out and Google has to do it.

n.n said...

Opt out of creation or configuration? Either way, you are an Alphabet property.

Ann Althouse said...


You say "1. Remove the Analytics tracking code from all your web pages or from your app."

I'm not sure where to find that code and am afraid to monkey with the blog's code. I don't think I've touched anything in there in over 10 years. It works all the time for me and I would hate to cause any problems.

Ann Althouse said...

@Bart Hall

"Ignore it completely. At some point your "G Suite" account probably had an option to enable a feature called Google Analytics (GA) where you could, for example, embed something in your marketing emails (!!) to track how people interacted with them. Or your business website.
Probably is just sitting there idle never having collected any information."

I actively enabled it, doing whatever I needed to do to get analysis of my blog and I can see all sorts of information about who reads my blog. It's not idle.

Ann Althouse said...


That was very helpful!

I think yours is the right answer for me.

I couldn't believe the instructions I was seeing, couldn't begin to settle down to even begin to think about being able to follow them, so your last paragraph is heartening.

It's amazing that Google presents ordinary consumers with such incomprehensible instructions!

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

@ Ann Althouse

"I actively enabled it, doing whatever I needed to do to get analysis of my blog and I can see all sorts of information about who reads my blog. It's not idle."

It was designed for people in your situation. Most of us have little or no need for it. It is quite certainly not Google being "evil" as I've seen suggested here and there.

wildswan said...

I found a site that describes Google analytics
It's pretty blood-chilling what they offer.

My personal favorites are:
"Privacy-Safe Modeling
Google's machine learning models provide a more complete picture of the customer journey, enhancing your understanding of customer behavior and conversions based on your observed, first-party, and consented data."

"Acquisition Reports
See how users land on your site or app and understand the effectiveness of your marketing.
User Acquisition
Discover how users reach your site or app through different paid and organic sources."

Cohort Exploration
Gain insight into the behavior and performance changes of users grouped by common attributes."

Google Search Console
See Search Console data in Analytics and get insight into which Search queries drove users to your site, and how your organic Search performance translates to on-site action."

Nevertheless, sorry to say this, but I always just go with generic installs and changes because I have seen how custom changes create hidden dangers down the road. And the service desk never helps because they only know generic problems.

Jupiter said...

"Like what percent male versus female and where in the world they're from."

Wait. Google knows what a woman is?

Jupiter said...

I think you can take it as a given that if Google is giving you the option of opting out, opting out won't actually prevent them from doing whatever fucked up shit they are planning to do.

It's like you're playing chess with Bobby Fischer. And you picked the white pawn, so you get to move first! What would you say is your best move? P-K4? Good choice!

maximusK said...

I think they're trying to encourage you to move to substack.

Gabriel said...

You're all getting a peek behind the curtain. Pretty much every website uses Google Analytics, since it's free, and pretty much every website is about revenue for someone, and they want to maximize that revenue. (Not meaning Ann here, really, but the good folks at Amazon and Blogger who enable her to do what she does, they need to get paid and Google Analytics is part of how they do that.)

What's been going on, we've all been opting into for at least the last ten years, and wanting out essentially means giving up on the Internet entirely. It was captured by marketing long ago.

If you saw what went on at a slaughterhouse, would you continue to eat bacon? If so, then updates to Google Analytics shouldn't put you off either.

If you want free content without being spied on and marketed to, you want what never will be. As they say, if you're not paying for it you're the product.

If it bothers you cancel your Internet service and look for books or magazines or chess club or something. That's all you can do.

lgv said...

Biff nailed it in more detail than Charlie. I would chimed in, but they took care of it. But I did have to suffer through dozens of useless non-answers.

Bottom line, based on your GA usage, let them migrate you to GA4. If GA4 needs changes to meet your preferences, change it or get someone to change it for you then.