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Google has announced that it is in the process of streamlining its privacy policy, combining more than 60 current documents for various products into one easy to read version, with less of the "legal gloop" and complicated language.  Starting March 1, users will no longer have a different privacy statement for the various Google offerings.  This makes sense to us, especially if the promises of a document that's easy to read and understand hold true.  It likely makes sense for regulators as well, as Google has been under the microscope about it's practices and privacy concerns.

Google's also saying this will lead to a simpler and more immersive user experience, where information from the suite of Google services can be combined to provide more relevant information while using Google branded products.  In the video above, they give the example of how it can improve search results.  Of course, it will also help target the right advertisements to each of us at the same time.

Google also wants to make it clear that they are not changing the basic elements of their privacy policies.  They still won't sell your personal information, and they don't share it without your express permission "except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order."   On the other hand, data about you can now be used across all services where it wasn't (couldn't?) before.  This isn't neccessarily "evil," but it opens things up for a bit deeper discussion and review.  In the end, Google is still going to be Google, and it sounds like the company's really only trying to simplify things for end users like us -- and at the same time making it easier for its own products to use what access you've already granted them. 

Source: Google

 
There are 28 comments

sciwizam says:

As always, go to google.com/dashboard to see what data Google has regarding your activity on Google's sites and clear out/opt out of personalization if you want to.

Gator352 says:

Regardless, all this tracking, combining, filtering, and targeted ads for the sake of making it simpler for user experience is getting a little out of hand. I mean, it's not that big of a deal but still...big brother is watching...and now Google. Maybe big brother is watching Google. Maybe Google is watching big brother. Or maybe big brother is watching Google watch us. OR maybe Google is watching big brother watch us watching pirated material....

I'm going to bed.

kitchin says:

They could my first born if it meant the updates kept coming for android

alcor34 says:

Saw a print ad for this in the subway a few days ago. I like the animations above lol. Talk about simple.

GareyW says:

I have concerns about this new "benefit". The most important being that we will NOT have an opt out. If I am wrong, I want to know. If I am correct, it opens up the subject for discussion. The old principle of just not using the software does not hold here. I remember that when I activated my Atrix,I HAD to use a gmail address and if I did not have one, I had to sign up for one.So, they Gotcha.

What's the point of having an Android phone if you're going going to use Google's services?

jmc2543 says:

That's how Google makes money through Android. They take information of what you do and show ads from companies they have contracts with of things your interested in. Like they say with g+, if you don't like it go someplace else thats not run by Google.

icebike says:

So just because you want a smartphone you have to bare your soul to Google or Apple, and you are ok with that?

Pimp Lucious says:

Yes

Suntan says:

First off, if what you do on your phone = your soul... ...you're pretty soul-less.

Second, Google doesn't care about your soul. God hasn't paid for an adword yet and The Devil uses Bing.

Seriously though, there's a server in the corner of a server room somewhere that is connecting your gmail info with ads. Big deal.

Honestly, I have more of an issue with the lady that drives around the neigbhorhood every Friday and stuffs the ValPack coupons for windows and siding in my mailbox. Seriously. She know more about me and my family than any Google employee does.

-Suntan

aleis says:

yes.

moosc says:

I'm naming my first kid google and adding a nfc tattoo to his her kneck

Bigsike says:

Hahaha lmao!

icebike says:

It might be called Streamlining by us Google fans, but that is not how its playing out to the general population. See
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-tracks-consumers-a...

The level of tracking is going from the merely creepy to the down right scary. I predict class action lawsuit any minute now as this represents a significant departure from what you signed up for. Short of tossing your android phone in the river you cant avoid it. There is no opt out.

In other news it has been reported that you cant sign up for a Google account without being forced into Google Plus.
http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/new-google-accounts-now-require-g...

My predictions are that the FTC gets involved very quickly. Some people just bought a phone. They didn't agree to make google part of their life.

GareyW says:

Thank You

Deegan says:

The fact that I can't opt out has me leaving Android. Hard to believe that Google became the dark side...

markbc says:

Thank you for a good article, Jerry, but I can't agree with the conclusion that this is about making it easier for us. Data about me will be cross-shared more than before and it sounds (from other articles above this changes, since I don't think you mentioned it) that I can't opt out of this change unless I stop using plus and some other Google features.. I am not as sanguine about this change as you seem to be. Well, at least I found out before investing too much time into Google+... this change ends that! Please keep reporting on this.. it is an important topic.. thanks!

darkmax says:

Err... Google, can you please just start by allowing us to DELETE OUR OLD ANDROID DEVICES FROM ANDROID MARKET WHICH WE HAVE ALREADY SOLD FOR DONKEY MONTHS?!

Suntan says:

Oddly enough, when I went into the market yesterday to look at an app, the Moto Xoom that I "delisted" months back was completely taken off my account.

Which really is kind of a bad thing as I used to use that "phantom Xoom" to buy apps that were on sale but not yet compatible with my other android devices.

-Suntan

hmmm says:

Google is a business that wants to make money. This policy will make them more money. Otherwise they wouldn't do it.

Nice timing too with Apple's earnings being released yesterday. Apple makes a killing and google lightens up on privacy to try to make more.

ulmerj79 says:

I love Android, and all the rooting/customization options available. However, certain things about me or my phone or where ive been arent for public knowledge. This is the kind of thing that could drive me back to Rim, which despite their many other shortcomings, are generally at the forefront of security and privacy.

JEvoUser says:

Wow this is really nothing to leave android over poeple so stop winning like a baby just because it is the flavor of the minute. Just stop and think you probably have both boxes checked under privacy so they already have access to some of your passwords. Than there is your search history which tells them allot about you and your interest. And as far as sharing information to advertisers about you take your head out of the sand and realize that they don't use anything that can identify you personally to them just age, sex, interest and locations not really a big deal. Unless you are the local drug peddler and your paranoid Google will be the nail in the coffin for your illegal operations. Personally Google already tracks my location through latitude. Plus you already gave them your credit card/s information and that's pretty big stuff to share and store on the cloud. I am sure that you can request all info stored on you somehow if your afraid someone working for Google somehow discovers who you are and now knows your embarrassing secret. In conclusion unless your a criminal who breaks the law and is on the run than this is no big deal. Now SPAM that stuff pisses me off. (but that's why I have a yahoo account dedicated to spam when giving out email to new provider's.

sandnut says:

We'll have to agree to disagree. Google is getting too much into my personal business. I've got a month to figure out what to do.

Deegan says:

Take my head out of the sand? "Winning like a baby"? Seriously man, if you're going to make a post this long and expect people to read it you need to make it worth their time. I share the least amount of information as possible with Google at all times. If I don't want them to know everything about me that is my call. Take a breath and please go easy on the run-on sentences.

JEvoUser says:

What other company do you know that is actually trying to write it in a language it doesn't take a law degree to decipher.

Rat A Tat says:

Google is not obtaining any new information about you that you haven't already opted-in to sharing with them. And it's not doing anything that hasn't already been in their privacy policy for years. Everyone stop with all the FUD.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/25/internet-freak-out-ov...

JEvoUser says:

They are right I totally just click agree. I am however interested in reading this one with the claim of making it easier to understand.

Deegan says:

That article neglects to mention that you can't opt out.