(NASDAQ:GOOG) is willing to pay online surfers to browse the Web and share data
about their travels with the search-engine giant.
has begun soliciting users for its Screenwise
program, in which it will pay Chrome users in Amazon gift cards to
surf Websites. Users must install a lightweight browser extension, which will
pass along data about Websites they visit via Chrome to Google.
learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and
services and make a better online experience for everyone,” Google wrote
on the Screenwise landing page. Participants must be 13 years old or older,
have a Google account and, of course, use Chrome.
will receive a $5 Amazon gift card code for simply installing the Screenwise
browser extension. Users can earn another $5 Amazon code for every three months
that they continue in the Screenwise program, totalling up to $25 total credit
in Amazon codes.
Google said it
will evaluate whether or not it will extend the codes for participation in
Screenwise that extends beyond 12 months. Those who want to try Screenwise must
submit their email address to Google, which will advise
those inquirers when registration opens.
in its fine print that Amazon is not involved directly with the promotion.
Rather, the panel-management specialist is distributing the Amazon gift card
codes upon sign-up and thereafter.
Screenwise, a Google spokesperson responded:
other Web and media companies, we do panel research to help better serve our
users by learning more about people’s media use, on the Web and elsewhere. This
panel is one such small project that started near the beginning of the year. Of
course, this is completely optional to join. People can choose to participate if
it’s of interest (or if the gift appeals), and everyone who does participate
has complete transparency and control over what Internet use is being included
in the panel. People can stay on the panel as long as they’d like, or leave at
The news, reported first by Search
Engine Land, comes as Google is weathering attacks from Congress about changes it is making to
its privacy policies, which on March 1 will consolidate product policy for 60
Web services, each of which may share user data with the other.
still be wary, given that the company already gleans plenty of information from
tracking IP addresses, cookies and other information related to users’ Web-surfing
To wit, Google
provided this disclaimer for Screenwise: “Google
will not save your email address or associate it with any other personally
identifiable information. Knowledge Networks will use your email address to
send you information from email@example.com in the next several days
with information on how to participate. Knowledge Networks will not share your
email address with anyone outside authorized staff and/or third parties to
provide support or maintenance to you.”
The news also
came one day after Google introduced Chrome for Android. The beta of the mobile browser lets users of Android
4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones and tablets speedily browse Websites.
Chrome for Android renders Web pages faster than the current Android browser.