Google Stadia product manager addresses the privacy issue of the “online only” games platform

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Phil Harrison, the product manager for Stadia and Google Vice-President said in an interview recently that Google is “committed to protecting and respecting privacy” on the new video-game streaming platform.

When Stadia was unveiled at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Centre, concerns were presented about how Google will use user data and personal information gathered by the service.

In an interview with Phil Harrison addressed these concerns, saying that Google is committed to respecting privacy:

“[Stadia] is built on top of Google's very robust privacy and personal information policy and we will not change that policy through Stadia…The account you use for Stadia is built on top of your Google account, but of course, you'll be able to have an online persona that is distinct and different from your Google persona…We're committed to protecting and respecting users' privacy every step of the way.”

Stadia will be a cloud-based gaming service (similar to a Netflix, except for games). It will enable users to play games on all devices operating the Google Chrome browser and the Chrome Operating System. Therefore, anyone with a mobile, computer or a smart-TV that has the Google Chrome operating system or browser installed will be able to play video-games anytime and anywhere.

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However, there are so many details about Stadia that still need to be revealed. This includes the types of games, internet speed required, the pricing of the platform and the business model of the product.

As a user’s Stadia account is built on top of their Google account, it would be easy for Google to implement targeted advertising on the platform as a revenue stream. This is because Google will already have information data collected from users that have already used their applications. Therefore, Google can make Stadia a free product if they so choose.

In the interview, Harrison also stated that they “are absolutely firm that we are not, will not, and will never release a console” and that Stadia represents an “inevitable and one-way shift” away from traditional video gaming consoles.

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Nicholas Becker
Nicholas Becker contributes and reports on politically-focussed features and news for Reclaim and is an advocate for online privacy from Hobart, Australia. [email protected]