Google paying people to track their web visits

Google has been trying to defend its upcoming changes to its privacy policy in the past couple of weeks. But what if you really wanted to give Google pretty much all of your web site browsing history? That is exactly what Google offers to some users earlier this week when it launched a new program called Screenwise.

In a page on Google's web site, the company describes the project, saying:

As a panelist, you'll add a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them. What we learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone.

As compensation, Google will give people who sign up for the program a $5 Amazon.com gift card code immediately. Every three months, Google will send the "panelists" another $5 Amazon.com gift card code. The maximum amount you can receive is $25. At the moment the program is not taking any more applications.

Want to go all in on this plan? Ars Technica reports that Google has also launched a smaller and less public program that sends people a hardware device that collects even more of a user's Internet activities.

In the agreement, Google says that people are paid $100 up front to participate in this program, along with $20 for each month they stay with the panel, up to a year. That means that a person could get a total of $340 if they were picked for the program. Google has apparently already signed up their limit of 2,500 customers for this survey.

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