US public still trusts Google

People trust Apple more than Facebook, and Google more than Twitter, according to a poll from Zogby Interactive.

Steve Ballmer must have an awfully reassuring face, because 49 percent of US adults said they trusted Microsoft. The same number felt equally warm and fuzzy about Apple and Google.

But, like the two-faced person who acts like your friend but isn’t, social networking sites are deeply mistrusted. Only 13 percent of people said they trusted Facebook, and Twitter scored a measly eight percent.

There’s a clear generational difference, says Zogby. Microsoft and Apple were particularly mistrusted by those under 30. Facebook and Twitter did better with this age group, being trusted by 20 percent and 15 percent respectively.

“Having a consumer’s trust takes on greater meaning in the cyber age. Trust used to be a one-way transaction: consumers bought a product believing it would be effective and not harmful,” says founder John Zogby.

“Now, our personal information is part of the transaction, and we must trust our information won’t be shared or abused.”

Facebook’s poor rating is hardly surprising, given the company’s recent woes over protecting customer privacy. But Google – currently facing censure over the collection of Wifi data by Street View cars – must be very pleasantly surprised.

Nevertheless, the social networking sites can take heart from the fact that they’re not the lowest of the low.

Zogby also asked respondents how much they trusted the media – and the answer was not very much at all. Only eight percent said they did, falling to six percent amongst the under-30s. Honestly, I don’t know why we all bother.