Google was able to wear a white hat and a black hat -- all in the same week.
A Wall Street Journal report shows that Google used a coding trick to force Apple's Safari browser to allow cookies, which in turn allowed Google to serve ads that could be shared via its own Google+ social platform -- a practice some could consider a "black hat," or sneaky tactic.
Safari is the native browser on all those iPhones and iPads we've been hearing so much about.
In fairness, as PaidContent.org points out, the same coding is a best practice for Facebook developers.
Earlier in the week, Google championed opt-in privacy by pointing out that its Android system does not allow application developers to gain users' contact lists without their explicit permission. Apple's iOS did allow such access for Path and other apps until very recently.
Google told the WSJ that it no longer allows the Safari workaround to be used.
It's a fight for user data, as ever, and the biggies are vying for as much as possible so as to serve what advertisers consider relevant ads during any user's internet session.
The Google+ push is full-on, with integration into search and personalized results, the +1 button on articles and returns and the general "notice our platform" approach to the new social network.
Google's myriad products lacked an ability to cohesively pull together what it offers to users. It would seem the plus-sign may well be the common thread that ties everything together -- if they can get it accepted without too much user-alienating force.