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26 May 2004
Google's 6 principles of e-commerce

Google's 6 principles of e-commerce

Citing concerns over the growing disregard for the rights of computer users, Google has outlined a set of principles that the company hopes the industry will adopt. Google says it’s sharing them to foster discussion and solve the problem, and is encouraging feedback on the principles.


In tones reminiscent of Everything I’ve ever needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, Google proposes for the moment, the six guidelines as briefly summarized below.


1.“Thou shalt not trick the user.” Installation – Software should not trick the user into installing it, and the user should decide whether to enable it or not. Notifications of all applications should be conspicuous to the user.

2. “Thou shalt identify true purpose.” Upfront disclosure – Any enabled or installed application must inform you of its principal and significant functions.

3. “Thou shalt delete easily.” Simple removal – The user should be able to simply disable or delete any application without disrupting the computer. Once disabled it should not remain active or be automatically enabled later by itself or another application.

4. “Thou shalt not confuse user.” Clear behavior – applications that change or affect the user experience should clearly establish the reason for those changes. Applications should not intentionally obscure themselves under confusing names.

5. “Thou shalt not spy.” Snooping – If an application collects or transmits your personal information, you should know. Your explicit permission must be asked.

6. “Thou shalt consort with good fellows.” Keeping good company – Application providers should not allow their products to be bundled with applications that do not meet the guidelines.


“We are alarmed by the size of this problem, which we estimate to be causing hundreds of millions of dollars to be changing hands annually,” Google said in a statement. “Because of this magnitude and user impact, strong action by the industry is imperative.”


E-mail your feedback and comments to Google here:

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