AVG Free vs. Privacy

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, as Robert Heinlein said in a novel featuring a computer technician. AVG proves it. Also, Office 2016 is rolling out.


Using AVG Free antivirus? AVG thanks you very much.

Have you ever wonder how companies can offer free antivirus products?

Me neither, but it’s interesting. Often, the free version is a tease for a more robust paid version with additional features. But AVG made an interesting choice, announcing last week that beginning in October, they’ll be selling your data to advertisers.

The good news here is AVG released a one-page privacy policy (http://now.avg.com/avg-one-page-privacy-policy-press-kit/) in plain English (and challenged the rest of the industry to do that, too). The more disturbing news is that they fully intend to sell “anonymous user information” they obtain partly from your browser searches and results. They made an adorable little video to explain this: https://youtu.be/2MdQa87fqnw.

According to AVG, users will have the opportunity to turn off this 'feature'. I haven’t seen the instructions for that yet, but believe me I will pass them along when I do (naturally one way to do this is to use the paid AVG product).

What AVG is doing here is pretty much the same thing as Facebook, Gmail, and just about any 'free' app is doing. When you start using those things, you agree to those terms. It’s just a little jarring to see a security company selling your data.

Office 2016 is here

Microsoft is rolling out Office 2016 to Office 365 users. If you subscribe to Office 365, login to Office.com, navigate to the My Account section, and you’ll see where you can download the new version of Office.

Most of the changes appear subtle. The new colour scheme is back to the old colour scheme – Word is blue, Excel is green, etc. The dramatic changes are under the hood, enhancing OneDrive integration and sharing. The Help is supposed to have been improved. It’s supposed to be easier to attach a file to an Outlook email message, which will be a welcome improvement if true. New in Outlook is a feature called Clutter, which apparently exists to de-clutter your In Box.

Entirely new is the curiously-named Sway, which is characterized as a story-telling app. (It’s also available free online: https://sway.com/).

If you want to grab some Office 2016 Quick Start Guides, they’re here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Office-2016-Quick-Start-Guides-25f909da-3e76-443d-94f4-6cdf7dedc51e. More in-depth training for Office apps (even previous versions) is available here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Office-Training-Center-b8f02f81-ec85-4493-a39b-4c48e6bc4bfb

As I write this, I’m installing the new Office. I’ll let you know how that goes in future columns.

Follow-up to saving Facebook photos

Last week’s column (http://rlis.com/columns/column525.htm) listed the steps for downloading Facebook photos. There’s actually a much easier way, as long-time reader Ray pointed out:

Simpler way to download Facebook Photos: Right click on the photo > Select “save target as....“ > You can save it in your photo file, or document file.

Many thanks, Ray, for that non-geeky way to grab Facebook photos. Or any photo on a website, really.


Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along.


Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.

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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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