May 25, 2007

Google User Experience Study Promises No Electrodes

They say that Google strives to "Do no evil", but as the company comes under increasing scrutiny for having a monopolist's share in the global search market, and others are growing more distrusting over the company's motives, in light of the Feedburner acquisition that expanded Google's ability to track user behavior, it's no surprise they have to remind people now and again they're not Big Brother.

Users of Google's Blogger service, the service powering this Web site, are invited to undergo a user experience study testing new features. Applicants may even get paid, upwards of $100, the company promises.

But clicking through to learn more about the opportunity led me to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page detailing what would be expected. While it's no surprise that you could "try out a prototype" and give feedback, the third question could be seen as a surprise, reading: "Does it involve having electrodes attached to my body?"

The answer? "No. Sorry."

Apparently, not only does this question come up a lot, but applicants appear to have been disappointed by the lack of electrodes. An odd group, to be sure.

Also of interest, the FAQ dictates that you would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). While that's no surprise in the trade secret protecting Valley, for Google to expect bloggers who use their Blogger service to be the shy, quiet types is unlikely. It would be like telling a 15 year-old girl a juicy secret, sending her to a slumber party and expecting your confidence to be iron-clad. Not a safe bet, unless you were eavesdropping, and she were wired to electrodes...