Google To Start Tracking Users Across Services
Google furthermore has created a main Google Terms of Service file that covers many of their products. This too improves accessibility.
The following paragraphs outlines how Google thinks users will profit from the change
Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google can do when we combine information across products. Our search box now gives you great answers not just from the web, but your personal stuff too. So if I search for restaurants in Munich, I might see Google+ posts or photos that people have shared with me, or that are in my albums. Today we can also do things like make it easy for you to read a memo from Google Docs right in your Gmail, or add someone from your Gmail contacts to a meeting in Google Calendar.
But thereâ€™s so much more that Google can do to help you by sharing more of your information with â€¦ well, you. We can make search betterâ€”figuring out what you really mean when you type in Apple, Jaguar or Pink. We can provide more relevant ads too. For example, itâ€™s January, but maybe youâ€™re not a gym person, so fitness ads arenâ€™t that useful to you. We can provide reminders that youâ€™re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day. Or ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friendsâ€™ names, are accurate because youâ€™ve typed them before. People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out.
The first thing that you will notice is that Google will share activity information between services come March 1 when the new policies go live. This has an impact on two areas:
- Personalization: Up until now only a handful services shared information with each other, Google+ data was for instance used for a personalized search experience. Now all data may be used for that experience.
- Advertisement: The more Google knows about you, the higher paying ads they can get to be displayed to you.
We already know that Google is reading your emails to serve ads on Gmail. Gmail users who are using other Google services may now see tailored ads pop up on other services as well, or YouTube videos recommended to them based on the emails they read.
It could also link things they do on their phone to searches they make on a desktop PC, or display ads for a popular coffee chain on their phone if Google has picked up that you like to drink coffee in the morning and notice that you are currently on the go with your phone.
Like to visit sex clubs? How about ads for related items on your desktop?
As Owen Williams points out over at Neowin, this could also have business and job related consequences. If you have an Android business phone that you use with an enterprise account, then other users with access to that account may see what you have been up to lately.
What you view at home, while accidentally being logged into your Enterprise Google Apps account could mean you have an awkward conversation with your boss.
There is no opting-out
No opt-out is offered by Google. Users who want to keep their account data separated only have two options: Create a separate Google account for each service they use, or cancel their Google account and move on to another service provider.
It is unlikely that many users will actually close their account as a consequence. Depending on which Google services are used, it could mean lots of work. And lets not forget that you'd need to research the new service's privacy policies and terms of service as well.
Mitigation may be possible, if users log out of Google whenever possible. This could reduce the number of personalized ads and recommendations that they will see on Google product pages.
Update: Here is the email that Google is sending to all of its users:
Dear Google user,
We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
One policy, one Google experience Easy to work across Google Tailored for you Easy to share and collaborate Easy to work across Google
Our new policy reflects a single product experience that does what you need, when you want it to. Whether you're reading an email that reminds you to schedule a family get-together or finding a favorite video that you want to share, we want to ensure you can move across Gmail, Calendar, Search, YouTube, or whatever your life calls for with ease.
Tailored for you
If you're signed into Google, we can do things like suggest search queries â€“ or tailor your search results â€“ based on the interests you've expressed in Google+, Gmail, and YouTube. We'll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you're searching for and get you those results faster.
Easy to share and collaborate
When you post or create a document online, you often want others to see and contribute. By remembering the contact information of the people you want to share with, we make it easy for you to share in any Google product or service with minimal clicks and errors.
Protecting your privacy hasn't changed
Our goal is to provide you with as much transparency and choice as possible, through products like Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager, alongside other tools. Our privacy principles remain unchanged. And we'll never sell your personal information or share it without your permission (other than rare circumstances like valid legal requests).
Got questions? We've got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)
Notice of Change
Please do not reply to this email. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered. Also, never enter your Google Account password after following a link in an email or chat to an untrusted site. Instead, go directly to the site, such as mail.google.com or www.google.com/accounts. Google will never email you to ask for your password or other sensitive information.