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]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.