Google Consolidates Its Privacy Policies Into One Policy, Shares Information Amongst Services, Don’t Light Your Torches Yet

If you haven’t heard the news, Google came out today and announced that they have updated their privacy settings to reflect the same practice across all of their services. This change, was announced today on Google’s blog and won’t go into affect until March 1st. The way it works is that if you are logged on into any one of their services, the search company can use this information in any of its other services. This can include YouTube, Calendar, Docs and so on. The way Google puts it is this:

Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

Basically, all the information you search for, the emails that are sent in Gmail, the videos you watch or subscribe to in YouTube, places you’ve looked up on Google Maps or even posts and discussions on Google+ will be sent and stored in one place. While yes Google will use this as a way ro deliver ads that are more catered to your interestes, and you cannot opt-out of this, I wouldn’t raise your pitchforks just yet if I were you.

As Google makes most of its money through ads it makes sense for them to cater their ads better to you. Microsoft does the same with Bing, Facebook does the same with its ads. If you don’t believe me, post an update on Facebook and see the ads that pop up on the side. Nine times out of ten they change to reflect on what you’ve just posted. Google is simply coming out and saying “here is what we are doing with the information you’ve already given us.”

While some folks may cry foul or call Google evil for making this change Google is simply just unifying its products in its attempt to make money. They are taking all the information, that they store already in various areas and putting it in one place. They are then using this unified information to make your Google experience more meaningful. As Google again puts it:

“But there’s so much more that Google can do to help you by sharing more of your information with … well, you. We can make search better—figuring out what you really mean when you type in Apple, Jaguar or Pink. We can provide more relevant ads too. For example, it’s January, but maybe you’re not a gym person, so fitness ads aren’t that useful to you. We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day. Or ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before. People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out.”

I don’t know about the rest of you guys but I like the idea of being told that I am going to be late for a meeting based on where I am located. To me, Google moving in this direction seems like the next logical step to what they’ve already done. We already have Calendar and Docs integration in Gmail. It just makes sense to make this work better for us in its other services as well. Google still vows to use the information for good. As they put it:

“We remain committed to data liberation, so if you want to take your information elsewhere you can. We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order. We try hard to be transparent about the information we collect, and to give you meaningful choices about how it is used—for example our Ads Preferences Manager enables you to edit the interest categories we advertise against or turn off certain Google ads altogether.”

So before you write your congressman, realize that Google is still using your information to make their products better, and more catered to how you use them and make that process better. They are storing the information in one area and using it across all its services rather than having it fragmented amongst each individual service. Your information isn’t being sold and your privacy isn’t being violated. It’s just being consolidated and used to better serve you. They are making the privacy policy more transparent so that you know exactly what you are getting into, something that other companies should get on board with.

Scroll on a little bit further to view the source and check out the PSA style video Google has in regards to these upcoming changes. What about you guys, are you worried about these changes? Does this make you want to download your data, delete your account and head somewhere else?

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[via Google's Blog]

 

 

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