Google Reaching Its Grabby Arms Out To Combine More Of Your Personal information

Google wants to change things up a bit and grant itself the right to combine your personal information across its products. So how is it planning on doing that? By simply rewriting its privacy policy to let you know about it first, which they figure you’ll agree to if you want to keep using Google stuff.

Google announces the changes on its official blog, where they explain that they’ve had lots and lots of different privacy policies before, around 70, and now they’re just going to smush a bunch together to make it easier for the user. Oh, but also easier for them to collect info on what you’re doing.

As CNET puts it, before there were only implicit rights for Google to combine your information, and now they want it to be explicitly written out that it’s fine for them to do so.

“The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” Alma Whitten, director of privacy, product and engineering, writes in the blog post. “In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

Starting March 1, your activities and data while signed in and using Google products will be used by them to create a “simpler, more intuitive” experience. This means if you’ve looked at videos of funny kids after going to the dentist on YouTube, when you search on Google next for “kid dentist” it will bring up those videos instead of thinking you want to find a dentist for your kid.

And if you’ve written something before in your Google documents or Gmail, words you used there will be auto-corrected when searching or typing elsewhere in Google. Google Books, Wallet and Chrome are not part of the behemoth privacy policy, and will keep their own.

You agree to the new policy simply by continuing to use Google products after the change takes place, according to the FAQ.

Useful, maybe, but also, kind of creepy. Where does it stop?

Google wants ability to “combine” your user data [CNET]

Updating our privacy polices and terms of service [The Official Google Blog]

Comments

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  1. Cat says:

    It’s hard to resist the temptation to be evil when you have all that personal information about everyone.

    Power corrupts, that sort of thing.

  2. Jawaka says:

    It makes sense to me to have only one Google login rather than a different one for every service that they offer.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      You do, in most cases–I mean, I have a google account that I use for G+, Gmail, Google Documents, Calendar, and a few other things.

      • Jawaka says:

        So I guess I don’t understand the point of this article then.

        If you give Google your information when you sign up for one of their services then of course they’re going to know those things about you. And we already know that they track what we search for, where we go on the web and or surfing habits. So they’re just combining all the infor that they already had about us into one large profile? So?

    • Lisse24 says:

      I think you’re right on – I don’t know what the big deal is. Up until this point, I always assumed that Googlesearch and Gmail communicated with each other. I was astounded to learn that they didn’t!
      If you don’t want google snooping into your email use hotmail. If you don’t want google knowing what videos you watch, go to MSN.

  3. Tim says:

    So … they have all this data you’ve given them. Apparently they were keeping it separate depending on which service of theirs you were using when you gave it to them … And now they’re just taking down those separations.

    This doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. They’re not collecting any more data than they were before, or even using it all that differently.

    • belsonc says:

      ^This. I’ve seen a bunch of stories (basically) sensationalizing this (including one site that Consumerist used to be affiliated with), yet no one has explained where the Big Bad Horribleness is in all of this. Much ado about nothing, IMHO. They’re being honest in what they’re doing and they’re being chastized for it.

      • aja175 says:

        Eff that site Consumerist used to be associated with. If it ain’t Apple it’s a horrible, evil, vile company. Maybe once they remove their collective head from the depths of Apple’s rectum they can become a news source again.

      • CajunGuy says:

        Ah, yes. I frequent those other used-to-be-affiliated sites, and they’re beside themselves over this Google policy thing. It makes no sense. Google isn’t saying they’re collecting MORE data, just that they’re tying together what they already collect across all their services, which I always assumed they did in the first place.

        I’m all for unifying the services. Google owns them, why not? I wish more entities did this (I’m looking at you Microsoft and Certiport for making my certification process a bit too difficult than it should be).

  4. aja175 says:

    Why is this a big deal, and why haven’t they been doing it from day 1? GOogle is sharing information we agreed that they could have with themselves. What’s wrong with that?

  5. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I sense an ambivalence in The Force… as if millions of voices cried out “Meh”, and then found something else to do.

  6. LeonardoLeonardo says:

    Oh man, the people who write Twilight/Pokemon slashfic in Google Docs are gonna start getting some weeeeiiiiird search results.

  7. CubeRat says:

    I had to create a google account when I bought my smartphone. I don’t remember what password I used, so I tried to re-set it. To do so, I need to give google all sorts of additional info, like any other e-mail accounts I have, the e-mails and real names of several people, my hobbies, interests, and a bunch of other shit. Turns out, I’ll never use the google account except to download apps to my phone, as there is no way in hell I’m giving them more than I already did. (which was almost nothing). I’m sure google will cross reference the info with T-mobile (who I’m sure will sell all the info I gave them).

    Horrible company – I don’t like even e-mailing people with gmail accounts.

  8. dragonfire81 says:

    Skynet lives!

  9. parv says:

    To summarize articles ..

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/01/google-doubles-plus-membership-with-brute-force-signup-process.ars

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/01/google-claims-90-million-google-users-60-active-daily.ars

    … Google wants to have Google Plus to be everywhere in (its) other products. Now, the default mode to sign for an account, say for Mail, is to sign in for Plus too. Google Plus requires identity verification. (Yes, pseudonyms would be allowed later but still would need to confirm identity. So an account would not actually be anonymous.)

    … and from …

    http://www.google.com/search?&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=google+plus+customer+data+privacy

    … Google would be better able to track a person after changes in the privacy policy.

  10. SpamFighterLoy says:

    I rather assumed that gmail, plus, calendar, youtube and search all compared notes already. Pfft.

  11. MeowMaximus says:

    I for one welcome our new Google overlords!

  12. Mike says:

    I freakin’ hate how much Google is integrated into my life, they are my corporate overlords. And the price and convenience force me to stay with them. I will OBEY.

  13. evilpete says:

    i sorta assumed they were doing this already

  14. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I’m sorry, but where is the crisis? They are telling us what they are doing with the data we have voluntarily shared with them and this is causing us grief how?

    Strange, but to me this doesn’t seem like a problem.

  15. Tedicles says:

    Personally I choose not to participate (as much as I can at least…). I recommend everyone use Firefox with the No-Script add-on which blocks all the many scripts from sites (7+ just for consumerist.com). Notice how almost everyone has google-analytics.com on their site? That is partly how they track you online, No-Script allows you to selectively block or allow these.

  16. Tedicles says:

    Personally I choose not to participate (as much as I can at least…). I recommend everyone use Firefox with the No-Script add-on which blocks all the many scripts from sites (7+ just for consumerist.com). Notice how almost everyone has google-analytics.com on their site? That is partly how they track you online, No-Script allows you to selectively block or allow these.

  17. Tedicles says:

    Personally I choose not to participate (as much as I can at least…). I recommend everyone use Firefox with the No-Script add-on which blocks all the many scripts from sites (7+ just for consumerist.com). Notice how almost everyone has google-analytics.com on their site? That is partly how they track you online, No-Script allows you to selectively block or allow these.

  18. I'd Buy That For A Dollar! says:

    I remain a staunch supporter of Google, despite this. There remains many ways to view videos of scantily clad women jumping on trampolines on Youtube while maintaining my privacy.

  19. I'd Buy That For A Dollar! says:

    I remain a staunch supporter of Google, despite this. There remains many ways to view videos of scantily clad women jumping on trampolines on Youtube while maintaining my privacy.

  20. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Don’t they already do this to some extent? I’ve noticed when I log into YouTube and then go to my Gmail that I am already in across the board. As to searching, I can just look on something else, I guess. Ask or Bing.

  21. Damocles57 says:

    According to Do Not Track Plus, the Consumerist site shows as tracking me with the following companies:

    Google Analytics
    AddThis
    Real Media
    SiteMeter
    ChartBeat

    And with FaceBook….

    How does Consumerist reconcile its participation in the growing (and tightening) web of data aggregators and data miners? What happens to the data collected? Is it sold or analyzed to improve my “web experience?” Or is it merely collected for quality and training purposes?

  22. dush says:

    If this is just your information presented to you across all Google apps that’s one thing.

    But if they are letting John Q Public see all your stuff that’s another.

  23. teamplur says:

    So people are worried/scared that google will be able to continue to look at info they already have?
    Seriously, if you use google for everything in your life, they already have all your info. You sign in with the same gmail account to everything. You think they somehow don’t know you are you?
    I don’t understand how people can go nuts over stuff like this. Like the facebook ticker. You are posting on a social network and don’t set it to private. It’s already there for everyone to see!