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Google to Combine Privacy Policies From Variety of Products Including Android, Put the Tin Foil Hats Away

Google announced this afternoon that they would combine the individual privacy policies from a variety of their products into one “main policy,” giving you a single sign-on of sorts. The idea is to treat you as “a single user across all” products to provide you with a “more intuitive Google experience.” Critics and conspiracy theorists are already screaming with privacy concerns, but as far as I can tell, the services Google provides should simply get better and things really aren’t changing all that much. 

To get started though, here is the excerpt that has people up in arms:

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.

So Google is telling you that with a single privacy policy, that they think they can make your experience more natural and simple. I think the scary thing is that they appear to want to collect more data than ever and use it. Whether you want that to happen or not, you are just going to have to accept it, for the most part. Thankfully, they continue to stand by their “we do not sell your data” approach even in this new policy.

And I fully understand how data collection can scare people, but from what I can tell, this new privacy policy doesn’t appear to have changed as much as some are claiming. Rather than having 60+ Google services collecting data on you into separate profiles, they will simply combine that into one. If you want certain data withheld, you can take quite a bit of it out by utilizing things like your Google dashboard, their Ads Manager, and even ask that they not collect data at all from some services. Google even recommends that you block cookies in your browser if you are wanting to block their data collecting out completely. Now, not all services will work to their fullest, but that can be said for cookie blocking at almost any website these days.

I think what has people concerned, is that Google has already been under fire for privacy and anti-trust issues, so a policy change like this is going to draw attention. What we would recommend is that you read through the list of links we have below which includes both the old and new privacy policies. You will see for yourself that not much as changed and that your tin foil hat can sit in the closet for another couple of weeks. Well, until March 1 rolls around and this new policy takes effect.

Via:  Google | New Terms of Service | New Privacy Policy | Old Privacy Policy

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