This is definitely not evil: Google just announced two improvements to its service that have important pro-privacy implications. Consider using them:
There are some limitations to SSL search, but still it should be viewed as an important technological step forward for privacy, particularly for employees whose employers monitor their internet use. Here are instructions to set up SSL by default in Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
Google's new tool addresses the underlying privacy issue in this tracking, with respect to Google Analytics, but not for some of its other products, such as AdSense.
Advertisers are very upset about Google's move (this in itself should be a signal of how important this opt out is). To my knowledge, no other web tracker offers such an opt out. And the fact that Google allows an opt out for analytics will make it more difficult for its competitors to oppose such a right when these issues are finally confronted by the FTC and Congress.
I was very critical today of Google and Facebook in the San Francisco Chronicle, for what I argue is a public relations approach to privacy at the two companies. These two announcements demonstrate Google's potential to solve some privacy problems. Much work still needs to be done, however. As my oped suggests, the core privacy problem relates to Google and Facebook's success in becoming intermediaries. The privacy issue no longer is third party information sharing--it's how first parties collect, use, and keep data.