TORONTO – Last week, Google announced its plan to link user data across its email, video, social-networking and other services that it says will create a “beautifully simple and intuitive” user experience.
According to the web giant, the new privacy setting gathers and compiles data about users based on their activity on various Google products and services—including Gmail, YouTube and the search page.
Google says it has consolidated 60 policies for its different products and features into a shorter and ‘easier to read’ database.
The amendments will remove some of the legal hurdles Google Inc. faces in trying to link information across services from Gmail to YouTube to the Google Plus social network that replaced Buzz.
Before the changes take effect on March 1, here are five things you need to know about Google’s new privacy policies.
More relevant and refined search results. Google says the new system will give users more relevant search results and information, while helping advertisers find customers - especially on mobile devices. For example, if you spend an hour on Google searching the Web for skateboards, the next time you log into YouTube, you might get recommendations for videos featuring Tony Hawk, along with ads for his merchandise and the nearest place to buy them. Your information, however, will be stored in one place.
Your information can be shared between Google’s services. As mentioned above, users may begin to see advertisements in Google + based on videos they watched on YouTube.
Your private information remains private. Google says that they won’t share users’ personal information without their permission, except in very rare circumstances like a valid court order. Google will not sell users’ personal information to third parties.
You still have choice and control. In a recent public blog post, policy manager Betsy Masiello says that users do not need to be logged into their account to user many of Google’s services, like Google Maps and YouTube.