The majority of us are in the dark about the way the web’s most popular search engine operator will use information about what we search for and what we do on-line. The findings came amid deepening concerns about the abuse of private information by internet companies.
When the new policy comes into effect on March 1, information from most Google products will be treated as a single collection of data, which the company could use for targeted advertising.
By consolidating numerous product-specific privacy policies into one comprehensive policy, “we’re explaining our privacy commitments to users of those products in 85% fewer words,” said Pablo Chavez, Google’s director of public policy, on the company’s public policy blog.
Even though the new policy doesn’t change how Google operates, lawmakers are using it as a springboard into an inquiry over user privacy. After all, most web based companies state they may change their privacy policies from time to time and so we know companies do this kind of stuff – credit card companies send notices in the post, banks email you change their changes to terms of agreement all the time to inform their customers that new policies will soon go into effect. Some web based companies produce a pop-up window and ask users to click to agree to the, most of use just click without thinking. So does Google latest change really matter, and will we see any actual effects?
Google maintains that its privacy principles remain unchanged and that it does not sell its users personal information or share it without their permission.
Betsy Masiello, Policy Manager at Google, says, “Our privacy controls have not changed. Period. Our users can: edit and delete their search history; edit and delete their YouTube viewing history; use many of our services signed in or out; use Google Dashboard and our Ads Preferences Manager to see what data we collect and manage the way it is used; plus take advantage of our data liberation efforts, if they want to remove information from our services.”
So will Google know more about you than your wife does after March 1st? If it does, and if you start getting bombarded with advertising across all Google platforms then this could backfire on Google the way Google Buzz did. Users could simply stop signing into Google accounts, stop using Gmail and start using other search engines such as Bing. However, what will probably happen long term is users will continue to use Google search, they will continue to use Gmail, they will continue to visit You Tube and Google will continue to be the number one search engine. Time will tell.