Google’s One Privacy Policy – Why All the Fuss?

3 Minute Read | Internet

If you use Google’s services then you are more than likely aware by now that Google has decided to consolidate all it’s privacy policies accross all their services as of March 1, 2012, meaning that information while logged into any of their services can be cross-referenced very easily. Read more about the “One Policy, One Google Experience” here if you’re not aware or keep reading for a brief rundown of what’s happening and my thoughts.

Google Products

Essentially it just means that information stored from accessing services such as Gmail, Calendar, Search, YouTube, etc can now be referenced to enhance your user experience & further deliver customised results. This can be seen as quite a problem with most people being fearful of the implications of remarketing, according to Danny Sullivan’s post “No, You Don’t Need To Fear The Google Privacy Changes: A Reality Check“. People don’t want to be advertised at based on their search history. Which is fair enough really – if I watch a Superbowl ad from Australia, then send an email to my friend about kittens.. do I want to see ads everywhere I go about kitten bowls? No! I’d much rather watch that here:

There has been quite an uproar in a lot of global communities around the place with EU regulators trying to stop it & Google’s biggest rival Microsoft, owner of Bing, is in on it to.

Microsoft has been quite vocal about these changes by openly criticizing the changes to these privacy policies and even running full-page newspaper advertisements in a couple of the US’s popular publications including The New York Times & The Wall Street Journal today. Here’s an earlier dig from Microsoft that they did towards their concerns about Gmail’s privacy issues via Gmail Man:

The thing that I find quite ironic (and Danny pointed it out in his article too) is that Microsoft have been doing the same thing for years with their Windows Live ID which allows you to sign-in accross multiple Microsoft services (Hotmail, Messenger, Xbox LIVE and other Microsoft services). So, you sign up to hotmail & have access to all the other services. However, you must abide by a number of different privacy policies for each service.

My thoughts:

  • I agree with consolidation and simplifying all the privacy policies accross the board into one to make life easier for the consumer.
  • Google offers a simple dashboard to modify privacy settings (and a not-so-easy way of disabling marketing of ads).
  • Google should make it more obvious where you can turn off remarketing and access to your search history – like browser cache, it should cater for emptying

What do you think about Google’s latest privacy policy efforts?

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