Google’s Consolidation of its Privacy Policy Take Effect

It has been in announcements for quite a while that Google has been consolidating its privacy policies into one main one with the exception of a few products and this is the day that it takes effect. Basically, what it says is that Google will share the data it has about you from one Google service to another. What it doesn’t mean is sharing anything new with outside parties, just among its numerous services. The way Google packages it is that it will allow them to make their products better and more personally relevant to their users.

Media has made a big deal of this since Google first announced the changes about consolidating its policies to just one. Some people have also been voicing out their opinions about it on Twitter.

Alma Whitten, Google’s Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering wrote in a blog post. “As you use our products one thing will be clear: it’s the same Google experience that you’re used to, with the same controls, and because we’re making these changes, over time we’ll be able to improve our products in ways that help our users get the most from the web.”

She also pointed out three “important points to bear in mind” about the policy:

1. Our Privacy Policy is now much easier to understand.

2. Our Privacy Policy will enable us to build a better, more intuitive user experience across Google for signed-in users.

3. Our privacy controls aren’t changing.

Google Director of Public Policy, Pablo Chavez, discussed five things that “aren’t changing” in a blog post written at the beginning of 2012 about the changes:

1. We’re still keeping your private information private — we’re not changing the visibility of any information you have stored with Google.

2. We’re still allowing you to do searches, watch videos on YouTube, get driving directions on Google Maps, and perform other tasks without signing into a Google Account.

3. We’re still offering you choice and control through privacy tools like Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager that help you understand and manage your data.

4. We still won’t sell your personal information to advertisers.

5. We’re still offering data liberation if you’d prefer to close your Google Account and take your data elsewhere.

The changes in the policy has come to the attention of privacy watchdogs. EPIC, one such watchdog group has complained to the FTC, but the FTC decided they had no legal standing in the matter, but they did file an appeal. Still, FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz called the new policy “brutal.

If you are outraged by Google’s decision, you can either start using other services or take all the precautions Google has enabled you with to control how Google shares your data. Personally, I generally see no problems about Google’s changes in its privacy policy for most users, unless, of course, you are into some embarrassing or illegal act online.

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