Google's New Privacy Policy Takes Effect Today

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 1, 2012
Updated • Nov 18, 2012

By now you have probably read about Google's privacy policy changes that take effect today. Some of you may have deleted their web history and other Google history, or even migrated Google services to other service providers with stricter privacy policies.

Google today announced the privacy policy change and a small FAQ that explains Google's point of view and motivation behind the move.

The company basically states that that the new privacy policy is easier to understand, that privacy controls are not changing, and that it allows Google to improve the experience for logged in users.

The merging of more than 60 Google privacy policies into one has been criticized by privacy advocates, users and governments. Critics argued that the sole purpose of merging the privacy policies was to get an even better picture of a user's online activities to drive ad revenue for the company. The inability to reject the change, other than to close down the account has been criticized heavily as well.

Google users have only limited options to prevent the changes from taking effect for them personally. They are able to mitigate the effects somehow, but there is no way of preventing the changes completely.

It is recommended to log out of a Google account whenever it is no longer necessary to stay logged in. While you need to log in to check your Gmail messages for instance, you do not really need to be logged in when viewing videos on YouTube or searching on Google.

You can get a rough overview of what Google knows about you on Google Dashboard. It lists the services that the logged in Google account owner uses. Some services provide options to turn tracking features off. This is for instance the case with the Web History feature in Google Search.

In the end, you have only three options. Live with the changes and do nothing about it, accept the changes and try to mitigate their effect as best as possible, or switch to other service providers or alternatives instead.

Check out the following third party articles for additional information about Google's privacy policy change:

What's your take on the privacy policy change?


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  1. GiddyUpGo said on March 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I have used Google from it’s early days when I had to get an Invite to open my Gmail account.
    When I first got my notification about the changes, I like the above others, notified my friends I would be closing my Gmail account. For one last time I opened Gmail and there deleted my account.
    I have deleted all my Google accounts.
    Under Firefox address I change the default Google search to Startpage. (Under about:config\keyword.url) Sorry Firefox, I know you get money from this, but I would give you up too if Google was the only way to search in your program.
    I have blocked Google search from my computer. (HOSTS, Browsers, so on.)
    In the past couple of weeks I have done this, I too find that I can live without Google!
    To me this was the straw that broke…..

  2. Gerry said on March 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    over the past six months or so i have been slowly getting rid of the google services i had used. duckduckgo has become my primary search engine, picasa is gone and as much as i dislike all the social networks, in a weak moment i had considered google + but did resist the temptation. the reason being i was becoming disturbed by google snooping into everything i did.

    as transcontinental said, the day i received the new google privacy policy i sent out an address change to my contacts that i was changing my email address (GMX which i like very much) and to no longer use my gmail address.

    after reading your article i went to google dashboard just to see what was there. as i am currently residing in mexico everything was in spanish and i had no intention of spending 10 miin. trying to find how to get the site back into english.

    i feel that google has got to the point where they assume that everything they do is allowable because they are google.

  3. Transcontinental said on March 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I’ve closed my Google account ever since they emailed be their new privacy policy to come, perhaps a few days later in order to find out if a rational thought would not defeat an epidermic annoyance.

    It did not. In fact there are plenty of alternatives to Google, but I think that we are many, myself included; to be tributary of a non-stop everlasting campaign which slowly but surely has brainwashed to the point of considering Google, and others like Facebook, as part of the Web — I should rather say — as the Web itself. Exactly like in advertising campaigns that repeatedly present end up creating a Pavlov reaction : I want this, this is that, I’ll but that.

    Google has excellent products and services, the place is excessively intelligent; but in my opinion no treasure is worth more than itself.

    I feel no pain. Addiction is a matter of confidence first but, then, of time.

  4. ilev said on March 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    You can use to clean permissions given to Google, Facebook, Twitter……

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