“We’ve been tidying up a little, making our privacy policies and terms more consistent, easier to read and easier to understand. You see while privacy policies, ours included, may not be the most popular read on the Internet, we think they’re important. So instead of over 60 policies for different Google products and features we’re introducing just one with fewer words, simpler explanations and less legal gloop to wade through.”
One Policy to Rule them all
From 1 March Google is radically overhauling its privacy policies. In broad terms Google’s numerous (70, not 60) policies will be replaced with just one. Consequently instead of a policy for Gmail, one for Google Calendar, one for YouTube, another for Search and so on they will be amalgamated and no longer tied to services, but accounts. Crucially Google will then share the information you provide across all these services, though not with third parties. Again the pitch is compelling:
“Over time it’ll mean better search results and ads, we’ll understand that when you search for Jaguar you’re looking for a jaguar [animal] and not a Jaguar [car],” claims Google. “It can mean more accurate spelling suggestions because you’ve tagged a word before and it may even mean we’ll be able to tell you when you’ll be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and local traffic conditions. All of which means we’re not just keeping your private stuff private, we’re making it more useful to you in your daily life too.”
These benefits are tangible. If you discuss your interest in something in an email YouTube may suggest videos about it and search results will be automatically refined to improve their effectiveness. For Google Apps (professional Google accounts) the situation is slightly different: core Apps services (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Control Panel) have their own contract which takes precedence over the new privacy terms so they will be unaffected. Access non-core services (YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, etc) with your Google Apps account however and information will be shared between them.
Why you should be worried
Four key reasons: stubbornness, convergence, exposure and track record.
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