Why’d They Change the Policy Anyway?
Even before these new changes, experts were already a little weary of Google’s privacy policies. It seems they have their hand in everything, from YouTube to Google Maps, which is why many people felt uncomfortable with the information Google was gathering. In reality, the very fact that Google has their hand in so many pots is the reason they made the changes.
Google’s goal was to have a single policy that covered every one of their services. A partial list of the various services they offer includes Google Calendar, YouTube, Google+, Gmail, and of course Google search. Before the new changes, each of these had their own policies. Having a single policy that covers all the services from one company does make sense. The question remains though: are the policies legal and acceptable?
One of the biggest issues with the new policy is that users have no options. If they want to use Google services, then they must accept their information being collected and used by Google.
Many companies have similar privacy policies, but the consumer can always make the choice to turn off tracking. With the new Google policies, there is no option. You cannot opt out and your choices are not really choices: use Google products with the policies they see fit, or don’t use them at all.
In the past, if you used numerous Google products, then each one would collect data about the way you use it. For example, Google search would record previous searches in order to try to improve future searches. Google Maps would remember your previous uses to cut down on the amount of time you spend getting directions.
With the new policies, all information is shared across the platforms. This is causing big issues for the European Union, which is concerned that this information will be sold to advertisers. In fact, that’s how Google makes their money – by selling carefully placed advertisements based on the information they gather from users.
Whatever you’ve searched for, whatever you’ve watched, whatever you’ve shopped for, it’s there for keeps and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Keep in mind that these cross-platform changes aren’t just about what you do when you’re on your computer. They are also shared across your smartphone.
If your iPhone or Android phone is connected to your Gmail account, then everything you do on both devices is shared between the phone and your computer – and of course Google.
It’s important to remember that there are positive aspects of the new policy. It does consolidate over 60 other policies, which makes it easier to know what you’re getting into.
Google’s also working to use this information to better tailor your Google experience. But before you decide if it’s good or bad, you must understand what these changes are.