From Google’s search engine and Gmail, to YouTube videos and Android smartphones, chances are you use at least one (if not a dozen) Google products every day. Google announced yesterday that instead of maintaining over 70 different privacy policies for all of its products, it has condensed them into one over-arching policy that will cover everything Google owns starting 1 March.
In addition to making privacy easier to understand, Google claims that this move will help improve the user experience by allowing it to share a user’s information across its various platforms. So, instead of tailoring your search results based on information you’ve searched in the past, Google will be able to also access other information about your web activities, such as what you watch on YouTube or what your recent emails were about to determine what search results you’d prefer.
In some ways this is great—a more fluid experience whenever you use Google products. However, many people are concerned that this sharing of information will give Google too much information about users. Sure, it has been collecting this information for quite some time, but to put it into use has some people wondering what’s to come. Another concern for privacy activists is the fact that Google doesn’t give people the choice to opt out of this feature, giving users no control over their information.
This move may come as a surprise to many, however the cause is most likely based on Google’s attempt to compete against Facebook and Apple, both of which have successfully built unified online products. Not only that, but in terms of online marketing, this change will allow Google to develop much more targeted advertisements than it has in the past.
With only a month to go until these new privacy features are put in to affect, it will be interesting to see how they operate and how the user experience will actually change. This story should be one to watch as many countries have already begun to show signs of concern and of possible assessments being taken to make sure the policy complies with their laws.