Google

Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect Today

1 Mar/12

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:

ZDNet’s Google Privacy Policy Changes Survival GuideThe Washington Post’s Google Privacy Policy FAQ

What’s your take on the privacy policy change?

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