Poll: Who Do You Trust More, Google or Facebook?

By Josh Catone
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In general, 2008 was a very good year for tech companies in terms of building customer trust. In TRUSTe’s annual “Most Trusted Companies for Privacy” survey, the majority of tech companies improved over last year: eBay jumped six points to #2, Apple debuted in the top 10 at #8, Hewlett Packard jumped 10 points to hit #6, while IBM stayed firm at #3. Facebook and Yahoo! also cracked the top 20 most trusted for the first time, and even though Dell fell seven places, it still was among the most trusted companies. Even Microsoft improved over last year.

So with most tech companies improving, or holding onto top spots, why did Google drop like a stone from #10 in 2007 to fall all the way out of the top 20 this year? It could be that consumers are becoming more aware of their personal privacy, and as Google grows and spreads its influence, users are become more concerned about just how much Google knows about them.

A couple of weeks ago blogger Allen Stern wrote a great and eye opening outline of how much Google might actually know about you. Taken all at once, Stern’s list can really be somewhat alarming, so it would not be surprising if consumers are starting to grow wary of the company.

“Consumers feel they are losing control of personal information,” said TRUSTe in a press release. “Only 45 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, down from 56 percent in 2006.”

Despite some mishaps last year (such as the Beacon debacle), Facebook has actually gone to great lengths to improve the granular privacy controls on its site — though they could still do a better job of promoting them to users, in our opinion. As users become more concerned about their private information being mined by big web companies, they’ll likely put the most trust in the ones that can make them feel more secure by putting them in control of how that information is used.

So we’d like to ask you, which of the following big web tech companies that appear on the list do you trust the most? Please vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

[poll id=”12″]

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  • amdjohn

    And with that, Google still want to force us to use their web browser to control our live even more on the net.

    Let just hope that Yahoo can come back.

  • Carlo

    Just think: what would happen if the data I’ve gived to that company fell into the wrong hands?
    What company has the most sensible data of myself? In my case is Google, as I never give real data to Microsoft. :-)

  • Google is a frustrating case. They give us so much great stuff, from Analytics through to search, maps and so on. But at the same time, they appear to be turning into a monster. I’m losing my trust in them, while hoping they’ll pull it back together, because they’re a fantastic company in so many ways.

  • Stevie D

    It’s a difficult one – there were several options I could have picked, but in the end I went for Facebook. However, I am very careful about what information and access I allow there … because I don’t trust all the application developers. The people behind Facebook itself, I do trust, but I remain suspicious of some of the third parties that use the site. How do you classify that on a scale of trust?

  • Mike

    I don’t see how anyone can trust Facebook more than Google. All the other companies have a vested interest in selling you something. Google and Facebook offer a service, and when you read the terms of service behind Facebook you realize that they ask you to give up EVERYTHING. Google at least understands that it needs to maintain consumers’ trust in order to keep people coming back.

  • Glendi

    Google couldn’t even bother to change their browser privacy policy, they suck.

  • I’m losing trust in google recently. I trust Amazon the most out of that list, and probably Apple the least.

  • Hierophant

    For a company that has no regard for international copyright or individual privacy, a lot of people in the poll here place their trust in Google.

  • dazzclub

    Seems like choosing the lesser of two evils…

    Regardless of how both companies portray themselves as the face of internet freedom..information for all….Bottom line is there’s money to be made and that’s what they are doing. For that alone I do not trust any of them.

    If I had to choose, it will be Amazon, they only want to know my shopping habits and Yahoo…well because they seem to be struggling to stay alive..so i dont mind helping struggling animal…then letting go before it bites me.

  • roosevelt

    Believe it or not, Amazon is more reliable because they collect the least of your information ;).

    I could be wrong but so far they asked for the least of my private information.

  • Depends, I trust Google most not to give the government any of my information. With my own personal data, I probably trust Microsoft or Apple more because they don’t seem to collect much of that. As a whole, it seems Google is all about taking our info and giving us great *free* products in return.

  • Sergey’s Mom

    “The study asked 6,486 adult-aged U.S. consumers which companies they thought were most trustworthy and which did the best job safeguarding personal information. A total of 706 companies were named by consumers; 211 made the final list of most trusted companies.”

    This ranking is meaningless – using it as a foundation for discussion of trustworthiness is laughable.