Google to track users... like never before!

January 25, 2012

In a move that has triggered outrage, Google has announced plans to bring all data collected from users’ separate accounts on its sites into a combined profile. Besides raising dubious questions about privacy, this offer is one you… cannot refuse.

The changes will take effect on March 1. Before that date, Google will notify its hundreds of millions of users about the new rules of the game. In preparation, the company is boosting its privacy policy and terms of service. Users will have to decide whether to agree with the new terms – or lose access to some of their favorite sites. There is no way of opting out of the changes. 

Some say Google’s privacy announcement is frustrating and a little frightening."Even if the company believes that tracking users across all platforms improves their services, consumers should still have the option to opt out,” said Common Sense Media chief executive James Steyer, as cited by the Washington Post.

Google says the new policy reflects a “desire to create a simple product experience” that does what one needs, when one needs it. The changes, apparently, will also allow Google to offer more new services and other “cool things.”

Google is consolidating more than 60 separate legal notes into a single main Privacy Policy, which will make it easier for consumers to comprehend – or, at least, read – the terms of service in full.

But these changes come with an unprecedented boost to Google’s right to collect and combine your personal data in ways you could never have imagined when you were registering for Gmail or Picasa.

“Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in [to your Google account], we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services,” Google’s Director of Privacy Alma Whitten wrote in her official blog.

“In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,” she said.

And it’s not like Google doesn’t already collect a lot of information about its customers. When you are using Android mobile phones, Google can access your contacts and location. If you are searching for something on the internet, Google remembers all the search terms. When you sign into your Google account, it can track the sites you visit.

The only Google projects which – for now – are not affected by this extensive data collecting operation are the Google Wallet, Google Books and Chrome internet browser.

Google claims it is committed to protecting your privacy, and that the only person it will share your personal information with, is you.

“Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google can do when we combine information across products,” Google says.

But this personal search feature has already raised a lot of skepticism. Google is facing an anti-trust probe over the latest changes to its search engine. The Washington Post says the Federal Trade Commission is privately checking whether Google’s decision to promote its Google+ social network on the search result pages is an act of unfair competition.

Now, the new changes have opened up yet more debate about Google’s stance on privacy, and the protection of personal data.

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Comment by Michael Fear on March 1, 2012 at 12:01pm

Try using this app

Browser Add-On Stops Google (and others) from Tracking You Online

Comment by Kerry Hay on February 29, 2012 at 7:36pm

I've been told that Google is not the only search engine tracking our data, they are all doing it, only Google is upfront about their new privacy policy. We never asked for it, surely Google has not thought through this idea to track what web pages view, we don't like to be snooped on in this fashion. Does this mean that anyone using your computer and viewing different web pages tells Google what you must be interested in? This idea is absolute madness. To remove Google cookies each time you view a web page go to Tools then to Page info and delete just Google cookies from the search, it's doing to be a pain in the ass but what else can one do too protect our privacy from illegal data collection. There i a site called "Scroogle" that doesn't collect data on the sites you visit or if they do all this data is deleted after a few weeks, check it our:


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