According to a Ponemon Institute report on the 20 most trusted companies in the United States, Americans trust Facebook more than they trust Google. A look at Ponemon’s press release shows Facebook ranked at #15, while Google fell out of the top 20 from its rank of #10 in 2007.
I don’t know enough about the study to evaluate its methodological soundness, but I found it astounding that “do no evil” Google would score lower than the company that tried to bring us Beacon.
But perhaps there’s a method to the popular madness. While Facebook may raise more privacy concerns than Google, it seem to be pursuing a policy of transparency in how it exposes and uses the data it collects. Google, in contrast, tends to be a bit more cagey about its policies. I may be reading too much into this one data point, but I’m tempted to see a lesson that users value honesty and transparency over privacy.