New Google Privacy Policy: Is There Such a Thing as Privacy with Google?

Google privacy policy concernsYou’ve likely seen all the hype about new Google privacy policy that was released last month. Everyone and their brother has an opinion about whether is evil or just invasive. But the truth is that these changes won’t affect you too much, and here’s why…

One of the biggest changes that Google announced was that they will now track your searches across all of its services, including Gmail, Google search and Google maps. Some of you may be thinking, “Hey, didn’t they already do that?” Well, the simple answer is no. Google has always stored user data. The difference is that now, each application can now have access to your search history for all of the other applications. So if you search for Florida rental property in Google, you might see ads in Gmail for rentals, and in Google maps for Florida vacations.

Will Google Share my Data With Anyone Else?

Google says no, they are making no changes to the data they share with third parties. Google owns plenty of applications you use on a regular basis, such as YouTube, Google Calendar and Google Docs, so really, they don’t have to share your data with anyone else. They already have a goldmine of knowledge about you and your online habits and now that they can cross reference then, Google will be able to target your ads with what might be frightening accuracy. There’s little need for Google to share their data with anyone else, Google does just fine with it on their own.

But there can be such a thing as ads that are too targeted. While Google has always featured personalized ads pulled from the data you share in its applications, now the cross referencing will provide far more personal targeting, and that may bother some users. Thoughtfully enough, new Google privacy policy has offered the option to opt out of these personalized ads.  By simply signing into Google, visiting your account preferences, and finding the Ad Preferences manager, you can opt out of either or both the ads in search and Gmail, and ads on the web.

What’s So Bad About Targeted Ads?

While some may find that Google’s new cross application data sharing is a bit too creepy for them, for the most part it’s not that big of a change from Google’s original data storage. But if you want to completely opt out of Google’s insidious data grabbing, consider using other services that aren’t owned by Google. It’s harder than you think, but it can be done.

Best to decide for yourself. You can see Google’s old TOS here, and their newly revised TOS here. Read it yourself, and pay attention to your ads in all of Google’s applications. You may not find it much different from your experience before the changes. But if you do, new Google privacy policy allows you to easily opt out.

Comments

  1. I really find nothing wrong with the new privacy policy. The only thing that bugs me is the Captcha when Google detects that your IP is doing a lot of search.

  2. Google is really scaring me lately. I for one do not trust that they follow the privacy policy. The company has zero transparency. I can understand keeping the search engine algorithm highly secret, but knowing they can affect millions of people’s lives by making minute changes and they do it without thining…. it just scares me.

  3. I’ve got no problem with Google. I think it depends on how much information we’re all putting in the web. I mean, it’s not just Google, right. There are also other search engines and other websites which requires us to provide detailed information.

  4. I agree with Lily – I don’t have a problem with Google, either. I know they collect tons of information about me, but I’m really not concerned with them doing anything malicious with it. Even if someone were to take that data illegally there wouldn’t be much they could do with it. I’ve been satisfied thus far with how Google approached the privacy issue.

  5. Google has gotten a little out of control lately. I have actually considered getting rid of my adsense account after hearing that having too many adsense ads on your site can actually hurt your google page rank score, what the heck?

  6. Lily makes a very good point. Essentially, we are in control of what we put on the web. If you don’t want it out there don’t put it on the internet. The hardest part is trying to get our children to understand that once you put something on the internet its there.

    I find nothing wrong with the Google Privacy Policy.

  7. Got to agree with some of the comments – I think that Google has turned into a monster, they are just too big and hold too much information about us. it isn’t what we put on the web that worries me, anyone can understand that, it is what data that they are collecting in the background when you perform a search, click an ad, how long you are on a site, your email messages, google +1, the list goes on..

  8. Steven Papas Steven Papas says:

    I personally am not too offended by the policy changes. Like you said it doesn’t much affect me. I don’t think I do anything interesting enough online to make myself worried over nothing.