• Announcements

    • Spaff

      These Forums are closing!   10/04/2019

      After more than a decade of serving this community well, these forums have finally run their course and it's time to close them down. That doesn't mean we want to close the doors on our community, quite the opposite!
      Our discord server grows ever busier by the day, and we encourage all Double Fine fans to meet us over there www.discord.gg/doublefine In a short time these forums will become a read only archive and will remain that way until they become needed again.
      You never know, it might happen.  There is... a prophecy. Thank you all for being part of these forums, and remember that the fun is definitely not over - so please join us on Discord! Love ya, Spaff, Tim, Info Cow, and all of Double Fine.
Sign in to follow this  
Deliverance

Spying with Google Analytics

Recommended Posts

In other words, they can see just how many people get to the riddle in Vella's story without first finding the item required to solve the riddle. They could also see how many times you were grabbed by a snake, etc (which would be an amusing statistic). I find it unlikely they are collecting any info beyond actual game events.

DoubleFine may not. But Google does more than this. Otherwise why would there be a premium version with the possibility to opt-out so that Google does not cross-reference the collected data with the rest of their information? This implies that if you use the free version or do not opt-out the data will in fact be aggregated with the rest of their data. And why would they offer a free service if they couldn't use the results to improve their information about a given user? Google is an advertisement company.

How Google can do this is shown in me earlier post in this thread.

But since they now have an option to opt-out this is a moot point now. Opt-in would still be better though in my opinion, but I can live with this now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh noes, DF tracks us and creates a heatmap, so we all get a better game!

Hide your kids, hide your wife!

Seriously, I bet this stupid complaint is the reaseon that I have to download the whole game over Steam now again 2 days before the launch instead of a small patch like before, because in the changelog it says that you can turn it off now.

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewreply/323348/

- Added the option to opt out of Telemetry gathering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That may be true, regardless, it would have been nice to add an option to disable it for people who don't want it; even EA put an option to disable their "automatic feedback" into Mass Effect 3. It's not a free product, we paid for it. I also wonder if the DRM free version will have the same stuff in it.

In one of the episodes of the documentary they have up on the whiteboard stuff they mean to discuss and one item simply reads "DRM". Sadly, we didn't get word one of that part of the discussion in the documentary. I am not at all happy to have any analytics tied to the games I play (the need corporations have for more and more information from everyone they "serve" is disturbing) -- especially without my giving permission. And especially when it's a company and service I did not back (Google). I was a Broken Age backer, not a backer of Google Analytics. I would also be interested in, at the very least, an option to disable this "service" in the game. And hope it's not present in the final game at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People could at least try to pretend they read the posts. Seriously guys ... 8-/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoubleFine may not. But Google does more than this. Otherwise why would there be a premium version with the possibility to opt-out so that Google does not cross-reference the collected data with the rest of their information? This implies that if you use the free version or do not opt-out the data will in fact be aggregated with the rest of their data. And why would they offer a free service if they couldn't use the results to improve their information about a given user? Google is an advertisement company.

How Google can do this is shown in me earlier post in this thread.

Uhuh. I read your "explanation" earlier in this thread. It's wrong, for so many obvious reasons, but I don't want to get drawn into that again.

I'm glad at least you're happy with the new "disable telemetrics" feature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uhuh. I read your "explanation" earlier in this thread. It's wrong, for so many obvious reasons, but I don't want to get drawn into that again.

Seems like responding to my post is a form of "getting drawn into that" but whatever.

If you want to believe Google does this without their own benefigt in mind than suit yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh noes, DF tracks us and creates a heatmap, so we all get a better game!

Hide your kids, hide your wife!

Seriously, I bet this stupid complaint is the reaseon that I have to download the whole game over Steam now again 2 days before the launch instead of a small patch like before, because in the changelog it says that you can turn it off now.

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewreply/323348/

- Added the option to opt out of Telemetry gathering.

I don't care about gathering telemetry in a BETA. I care whether they are up front with this or not. And I care if they send this to their own servers or use Google Analytics for this.

If you want to be a Google exhibitionist thats fine by me.

And also: "Oh noes, you had to download a BETA version again?" Oh my gosh I am so very deeply sorry you pour soul! How can I make this up to you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I remember correctly the Windows Firewall asked to connect to Google Analytics when you start the game.

If it wasn't the Windows Firewall, then it stood somewhere else, because I knew about it without looking at the EULA.

And for the record, automatically downloading the full game through steam as an update was just unneccesary so close before the release, because we'll probably have to download everything again and I just leave it installed to get the trading cards when they unlock.

So what kind of sensitive information could Google Analytics gather from you?

Your system specs? Your progress? If they had used another third party tool, which they wouldn't have to disclose (e.g. GameAnalytics), would you have complained as well or is it just Google that you don't like?

Pretty much every website and a lot of mobile games have it running, I use it myself to optimize my webpage and I can't see how it could harm anyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you want to believe Google does this without their own benefigt in mind than suit yourself.

Of course they do it for their own benefit... They're a business! They just don't do it for the benefit you're claiming they do it for. There's so many common sense reasons why it isn't the case, not to mention technical ones, that I just don't even want to get started. I know you don't believe me, and that you've got it all figured out, but I also suspect you don't want a big argument with me, like I don't want one with you.

So I've a better suggestion: Why not do some simple tests? Set up a clean PC (maybe via VM, so you can use your current one), install Steam and nothing else, and see what advertisements you get after playing BROKEN AGE with telemetrics turned on. You could easily conclusively prove that Google were using their allegedly "anonymous" data to sell adverts to you. You'd cause quite a stir in the technology world if you were right (maybe even elsewhere), as it breaks their GA Privacy Policy.

What have you got to lose: Either you're right and become acknowledged for exposing Google as dishonest, forcing them to clean up their act, and improving the world for everyone -- or you prove to yourself that Google don't do what you keep claiming they do.

It should take you a half a day at most. I eagerly await your results!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... what on earth are we even talking about? I made the post to wrap up the discussion, since the issue is now fixed, not to start it all over again. Send all your stuff to google, for all I care. I can now turn it off without having to do the equivalent of pulling out my lan cable. And @DanFury, I quite doubt you did download the "full game" again. If you looked into the bugs forum, it was a 700 MB patch, and that was due do changed assets -- i.e. new art.

Reading, people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So what kind of sensitive information could Google Analytics gather from you?

From the fact that I play this game, they know that I use Kickstarter, that I have disposable income, that my age is probably between 25 and 35. From the way I play the game, they can find out if I have a physical or mental disability. From the times I play the game, they can make inferences about my job. They can probably make a good guess at my English skills and my intelligence from how I progress through the game. They might make inferences about my gender and race, too. This is just some obvious stuff, and doesn't require any cross-correlation with other data sources. There's also less obvious stuff. Is playing this game correlated with other user data? Can Google tie your Broken Age account in with other data sources? We don't know.

This data can be used in all kinds of ways that are bad for you. Credit ratings, insurance, making online purchases, even just booking a hotel room. If companies can find out these kinds of details about you, they can deny you service (say, if they don't like your race), or can jack up your prices (if they find out that you're affluent).

Is this a bit paranoid? Maybe. But having worked on data mining software in the past, I don't think so. This kind of software is really good at drawing these kinds of conclusions about people, and making non-obvious guesses about you based on strange, non-obvious correlations.

Now, if you don't care that Google knows these things about you, that's totally fine. I have absolutely no problem with that at all.

But I don't understand why you want to make this decision for other people. Nobody has asked that DF remove this feature from the game. People have only asked that DF tell their customers about the feature in an reasonably obvious way, and that they allow people to opt out. Is this really such a crazy request that it needs to be denied at all cost?

Apparently, DF actually agrees that this is not an unreasonable request, since they've now done exactly that.

I don't understand why there's even a discussion about this. There are people who are uncomfortable about this. You're not one of them. Good for you. But why do you feel the need to deny the ability to turn the feature off to other people?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoubleFine may not. But Google does more than this.

Yes and no. Google might cross reference IPs (frankly I'm not sure that they do, but they might) and attempt to track you across all services that use GA, but - at least for the web - the javascript which actually sends data to the GA servers is totally public. You can expand it and see exactly what it's doing and how and what information is automatically sent. (If you wanted to, you could even browse the site code and determine what an individual web developer decided to send via GA.) And the actual metrics are limited. For the web, at least, it will track what URLs you visit by default. The web developer can also choose to send along data to any number of events - say, clicking certain buttons or completing orders. You can also send information about orders - such as total sale numbers and which items were ordered. You can also create a limited number of what they call dimensions, which can send some basic custom data. But again, it's fully against the TOS to track information that is personally identifiable.

Yes, using their browser cookie they can determine what sites you have been on and pipe in some targeted advertising, and they can easily make inferences about what you like. So if that bothers you, I understand. (Though if that data comes from a game, there is no cookie - I'm not sure how the new UA features work precisely on non-web interfaces - or if they can even connect different apps on the same computer.)

Having your credit score impacted by GA would be a bombshell though, because that would mean not only did they collect that info but they transmitted some kind of data to banks and/or credit agencies. Neither consumers nor businesses using Google's services would be terribly happy if that happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this