If you use any Google product, or are an avid reader of blogs, it will not have escaped your notice that Google are updating their Privacy policy.  From 1 March 2012 all users will be deemed to have accepted the new conditions.

I have so far avoided blogging on the topic as there has been ample chatter on it, however I am still amazed at just how much mis-information and mis-understanding there is.

Here's my simple take on it:

  • Google are combining over 60 separate policies into one common document.
  • There are a few Google products that will require specific policies -- these are typically products terms out with the control of Google.  As an example, Google Wallet has specific detail dictated by financial legislation.
  • The common policy is significantly shorter, better written and easier to understand.  It is very specific on what they gather, how it is collected, and how they use it.
  • They are not collecting any additional data beyond previous terms and they will not disclose information publicly without your consent.

For me personally it all makes sense.  Google offer some great products, nearly all for free.  They gather limited information about my habits to provide me with targeted adverts.  Along the way I probably disclose much more information but they are upfront about what else they store about me.

Many of their products do not require a login to function so nothing changes there and you still get to be anonymous if  you wish.

Google are currently the only organisation who will show me all the detail they hold on me, via the Google Dashboard.  Again, the only company to give me the option to download ALL my data easily (think photos, contacts, etc).

Finally, and very significantly, if I delete my Google account they will delete ALL my data --  (I'm thinking Facebook here, who have been proven to hang on to images three years after someone 'deactivated' their account).

My tips to you -- read the pages on the new policy, or at the very least the Google Privacy Policy FAQ.  Take a few minutes to look at the Google Dashboard; it's a great place to review your information and remove details, all in one central place.

If you don't like the changes you have a choice -- Don't use Google!

Happy Googling

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