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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

  • Goose306

    I give my number to my friends and companies that I work with or need. So far, out of 10 years with a cell phone (and the same number) I have yet to receive a single spam text.

    I would say you are the one selling your information.

    The Google Privacy Policy is more or less unchanged. They collected your information before, they collect it now. I opt-out of location data on my phone. That’s it. Really, who cares? At least now IF you do care, you have one place to opt-out of it all, rather than strewn across 10 different places…

  • i love the voice in the vid

  • Anonymous

    That lady has such a nice voice. She’s probably really ugly. But I can dream, can’t I? Also, what’s with the spaghetti people? Are they Google employees? Creepy..

  • Bunkheaded

    yay, another thing I have to turn off. I hate things that influence my searches

  • What makes google different from facebook now? nothing. all the same, information and data collectors.

  • They are still the most likely company to become “Sky Net” in the not to distant future. No hate or anything. I for one welcome our new privacy oriented overlords.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone concerned about “what Google knows about you”, have you considered how many men/women and “man hours” it would take for Google to really look at what “you” and everyone else who uses their service is doing and actually match it to each individual personally? And what are your worst fears? That they’re going to show up at your job or pop around to your neighborhood when you’re at work, dropping leaflets about your dodgy Internet search habits and the pills you ordered online? Go outside, smell the air, look at the flowers, stroke an Animal and say hello to your neighbors… Do something that doesn’t involve a computer for an hour and you will understand that your paranoia is just that.

    • Anonymous

      Depends on how long they keep the info.  Today that would require a lot of resources, 10 years from now it might be a piece of cake for them.
      I agree that most of it is overblown, especially as long as the data remains private.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for that, sums up my views also. Im not that important or interesting & i know it, so no worries here. If it brings a better user exp., then i say keep on collecting Google.

  • RadicalPie

    “Put the tin foil hats away.” Alternate title for post… oh wait

    • Stating El Obvious

      This is not funny, and wasn’t the last three times you said it either.  Just a tip.

      • EC8CH

        You should try lightening up a bit and not sounding like such a prick all the time. Just a tip.

        • Anonymous


  • This helps with the fragmenting issue perhaps? Maybe? {{-_-}}

  • Matthew Rosidivito

    The mention about using traffic and your current location to inform you if you’re going to be late for a  scheduled event on your calendar was pretty cool. This is innovation. A simple useful tool that will only require some behind the scenes work using only existing Google products.

    As a firefighter, I would love to see how Google products could be used in the emergency services field. There are some high-tech dispatch and communications systems out there that combine radio, GPS, and cellular data. However they all seem to lack that Google ingenuity, reliability, and ease of use. Looking forward to the future.

  • Anonymous

    Soooo… if I use three different email addresses for Google’s different services, how will this affect me?

  • To be honest, my life is not interesting enough for a privacy policy. Do we really have that much to hide? If Google wants to collect stuff about me, I say it’s their loss. Pretty much any service I use is public (except for email of course, but it’s really no different), and all employers who have done a “social background check” on me have said is “You have some very strong opinions about soup.”

    Do average people have all that much to hide? I welcome all of Google’s soup suggestions… I bet they are delicious.

    • Randy

      It is not privacy in the sense that they are going to steal your identity or tell people you like goat porn. It is privacy because they are taking everything they know about you through their various services to sell more ads. Google is an advertising company and the more info they get the better they can tailor their ads to you and the more they can charge for those ads. Now if you don’t mind advertising then this whole ordeal is no big deal. I on the other hand cannot stand seeing ads and would prefer to not search for the best hemmroids cream only to be bombarded with preparation H and butt pillow ads for the rest of my life. 

      • You’re starting from a false premise here, though. If Google was not collecting information about you, you are positing that there would be fewer ads. That’s not true – there would still be ads everywhere, they would just be totally random ones. If I’m going to have ads, I’d rather they at least be related to things I’m interested in. Contrary to popular belief, not all advertisements are evil. Sometimes they are advertising a legitimate company doing something I might actually like! I rarely click on ads, but when I do, I buy/subscribe/whatever about half the time. And in the meantime, I’m not getting ads for penis enlargement or, I don’t know, muscle cars or something equally irrelevant to my life.

      • Raven

        What are these “ads” you speak of?  I haven’t seen one since I started using Adblock Plus with Firefox years ago and Adfree on Android.

        • freeloader. Just because Google makes billions doesn’t mean its ethical to “steal”. Search is an ad subsidized business. By blocking the ads Google is losing money serving you.

      • You get a “like” just for the phrase “goat porn”.

  • ddevito

    The future of Google is Google+, they’re going to consolidate everything into it, whether we like it or not.

    They’re trying to avoid the pitfalls companies like Yahoo fell into, and the fat trimming continues from services (piknik, etc) all the way down to privacy polices. I like where they’re headed, looking forward to the future.

    • ddevito

      And honestly, if you use lots (or all) of their services, it just makes it easier to control your privacy settings across all their servicesproducts.

      And to use their example, if I search for “jaguar” on my Cr-48, chances are, “jaguar” will mean the same thing to me on my Cr-48, Android phone, work laptop or desktop PC. 

      So before everyone worries and flips out, think about it for a minute. It may not be for everyone, but it streamlines YOUR privacy all in one place, and it will undoubtedly be easier to control from any platform.

    • Facebook

      If the future of Google is Google+ then they are heading to the shitter. Nobody is on Google+ except tech nerds. 

      • Anonymous

        Actually starting to see more & more non-tech sites with Google+ buttons on their pages lately. Give it time, its still very young & has to compete with the strangle hold facebook has right now. I never signed up for fb, so jumpin into G+ head 1st was no problem for me. Ill judge it at this time next year & enjoy the ride/spread the word until then.

  • Bill_678

    Anyone else think that since everything will be nice and bundled up it means that we are closer to some sort of personal assistant like Siri

    • Anonymous

      Wouldnt doubt it that google has something like that brewing atm, good call.

  • ibelieveinsteve

    I really just dont understand the concern as long as the information is self contained to Google services. Your technology is going to get to know you. It’s the future. Get used to it.

    • Granted

      Your own mother doesn’t know as much about you as Google collects on you. You’re vapid, i’m sure you’re used to it.

  • I sold my soul to Google long ago, 
    Feel free to do with it what you wish oh lord Google

    • Anonymous

      : I agree.. Google can have control if it wants. It’ll only make my life easier anyway. So thats just the plus. lol

    • Monty Waggoner

      The moment I signed in to my OG Droid, I was hooked.

      • Google, you had me at Drrrroooooiiiiiiid.

  • Kuboo99

    I don’t know, I still feel this is worrisome.

  • Anonymous

    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.

    • Exactly. 🙂

    • ByeGoogle

      You cannot opt out of the new changes and you cannot opt out of the new doctored Google+ your world search results. Google in their attempts to become the next Facebook has become the next Microsoft and soon they will be the next Yahoo. 

      • or they will be the next google

  • And by the way, we have read the Washington Post article that paints this as the worst policy change in corporate history. I’m not sure I buy into their take on the situation, as they basically spun it to the polar opposite of what Google said in their announcement. To get to where you should be, you can probably find some middle ground in between both articles.

    Other major news organization sort of took the same approach we did in that nothing is changing all that much at this time.

    • Lancer

      Was reading AppleSh…..Gizmodo, I meant, and they’re just having way too much fun with this story as well. I believe a user must know what he/she is getting into before reading a criticism from somewhere else.Make yourself knowledgeable before signing up for something. I don’t think a “Get rid of Google, for good” post was really necessary. Seriously, they wanted people to start using Bing, Yahoo, Windows Live, blah, blah and blah just to replace your Google account. Isn’t that one of the great things about Google? If this privacy policy makes the experience more streamlined, go for it big G.

      • Anonymous

         Gizmodo went CRAZY with it. I read the comments and it seems that whoever disagreed with them was insulted and or banned. I am glad I stopped going there.

        • Anonymous

          Think the Giz is bad?? Take 1 look at TechCrunch, articles & comments. But dont say i didnt warn u, bc its Gizmodo x10 with a bit of how engadget used to be sprinkled in!!! (not hating on engadget bc they arent as biased as they used to be)

  • Dan