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Google seem to be doing something with their privacy policy. What will this mean for Android users?

 

Google privacy policy is subject of backlash

 

One day after it announced a sweeping change to its privacy policy, Google is facing some heat for the decision. Hayley Tsukayama reports:

 

Google’s announcement that it is sharing more user data across its services has already raised the hackles of privacy advocates, technology writers and caught the attention of at least one national data-protection agency.

 

On Tuesday, the search giant announced that it was placing 60 of its Web services under a unified privacy policy that would allow the company to share data between any of those services. (Google Books, Google Wallet and Google Chrome are excluded due to different regulatory and technical issues.) Any user with a Google account — used to sign in to services such as Gmail, YouTube and personalized search — must agree to the policy. Users who don’t want to have their data shared have the option to close their accounts with Google.

 

Some praised the company for being so open about the changes, including European Commissioner for Justice Vivian Reding. Reding, vice president of the EC, is the continent’s leading advocate for laws on Internet privacy and data protection, and said Google’s move was a step in the right direction.

 

“Google was quick. Even before the Commission decided on the new European law, Google made the first step in the direction of new privacy rules. I can only applaud the direction," she said in a statement.

 

But not having the right to choose what information is shared between services is the source of a great deal of criticism. In remarks to The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said that he thinks it is “imperative” that users have control over what information they want to have shared between the services Google offers.

 

Others saw the decision as a sign that there’s been a shift in the company culture at Google. Danny Sullivan, a technology blogger and expert in search, said that the change is just a logical step in Google’s move toward becoming a Web portal.

 

“It’s similar to how you sign up for Facebook, rather than individual products within Facebook,” he said.

 

What exactly does the new policy entail, and how will it affect your user experience? Hayley Tsukayama reports:

 

What is Google doing?: In a nutshell, Google is taking information from almost all of your Google services — including Gmail, Picasa, YouTube and search — and integrating the data so that they can learn more about you. Google Books, Google Wallet and Google Chrome will retain their own additional policies, partly for legal reasons, but Google could still integrate data from these services.

 

What kind of information are they collecting and integrating?:Google collects and can integrate almost anything that’s already in the Google ecosystem: calendar appointments, location data, search preferences, contacts, personal habits based on Gmail chatter, device information and search queries, to name a few.

 

Can they do that?: Well, under the company’s current privacy policies for some of its properties, Google says it can “combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services.” The privacy policies for YouTube and search history, however, did not have such language. Now they do and the company has now made its ability to combine information across these and its other services more explicit.

 

Why is Google doing this?: Google says it will be able to do a lot more “cool things” when it combines information across products. There’s “so much more that Google can do to help you” if you share your information with them.

 

Give me an example.: From Whitten’s blog post: Google will be able to “provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what traffic is like that day.”

 

Interesting. Tell me more: Also from Whitten: Google will be able to “ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before.”

 

When do the changes take effect?:March 1.

 

Can I opt-out?: No.

 

Bloomberg News rounds up some of the specific complaints leveraged against the tech firm:

 

Data-protection agencies in Ireland and France said they would assess the implications of the push. At least one consumer-advocacy group fretted that the policy -- which makes it easier for Google to target advertisements to specific groups -- might tie users’ hands and make it harder for them to limit what the company can do with their information.

 

“This announcement is pretty frustrating and potentially frightening from a kids and family and teenager standpoint and an overall consumer privacy standpoint,” said James Steyer, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Common Sense Media.

 

Regulators took umbrage when Google unveiled changes to its search engine earlier this month, making user information from its social-networking service available in search results. Rivals such as Twitter Inc. said the shift would favor a Google product -- namely, Google+ -- over other information on the Web.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-privacy-policy-is-subject-of-backlash/2012/01/25/gIQAzwZCRQ_story.html?tid=pm_business_pop

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Guest ObiChrisKenobi

Feel free to gather as much information on me as you want, Google.

 

Concur.

 

If my measly data keeps them going, and provides me with a more personalised service, take all the data you want.

 

You'll make Apple jealous.

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Feel free to gather as much information on me as you want, Google.

 

Concur.

 

If my measly data keeps them going, and provides me with a more personalised service, take all the data you want.

 

You'll make Apple jealous.

 

The World's Largest Company will survive.

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If people feel that strongly about it, they should really just not use google products tbh.  Don't like their privacy policy?  Write your own search engine and suite of software to make everyday life easier :thup:  They're not a charity or something we pay our taxes for, they can do what they want.

 

:lol: :lol:  It's not quite that straightforward really, but you made me chuckle anyway...

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:rolleyes: Typical GM, pussying out of writing his own search engine and suite of cloud-based productivity applications.

 

:lol: :lol: With every new day, new experiences. Today's new experience: finding SEMTEX funny. ;)

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If people feel that strongly about it, they should really just not use google products tbh.  Don't like their privacy policy?  Write your own search engine and suite of software to make everyday life easier :thup:  They're not a charity or something we pay our taxes for, they can do what they want.

 

:lol: :lol:  It's not quite that straightforward really, but you made me chuckle anyway...

 

:)  It's not even close to that straightforward, but as users of what are essentially free services, I'm not sure how much right we have to object to how google choose to use the data that we willingly give it.

 

Taxi Driver: You can either pay £50 for this journey, or you can have it free but I'll have to take your name and make a note of where I'm driving you to.

Normal Bloke: Sounds good to me :thup:

 

Taxi Driver: You can either pay £50 for this journey, or you can have it free but I'll have to take your name and make a note of where I'm driving you to.

Furious Internet Bloke: Fucking disgrace, I'm entitled to this journey for free and you don't deserve to know anything about me, irrespective of how much time, money and effort it takes you to drive me where I want to go

 

Except what we're talking about here is a bit like the taxi driver changing his charging policy mid-way through the journey. No? :)

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The article is a load of tosh. Google's privacy policy hasn't changed at all in the slightest. It was always this way.

 

Google is merging together all its different services and decided it needed a needed a unified policy that covers everything. There's no new terms in there. They just merged everything into one, more coherent, document.

 

There's a lot of google scaremongering going on recently, mainly started by the Murdoch press. Murdoch was pro-SOPA. Google opposed SOPA. Murdoch thinks google shouldn't be providing search results for the likes of piratebay.

 

There's an anti-google agenda at the moment. The article is rubbish.

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You can easily get by without Google products if you have so high thoughts of yourself that you don´t want them to gather your data.

 

If you look a bit more realistically on it, Google are dependent on users. If google abused the privacy policies they have, they would lose users, and Google would cease to exist. So they won´t.

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