Altabel Group's Blog

Google’s new privacy policy: what’s changed?

Posted on: January 31, 2012

There are many opinions about Google’s new privacy policy among bloggers, journalists and friends. After studying all of them I have some questions left: Is Google’s new strategy of replacing separate policies for each application with one shorter policy — one which allows them to share our data across all those applications with no way to opt out short of pulling out of Google’s ecosystem completely — simply a matter of adding user (and vendor) convenience, or a gross violation of our privacy? And if the latter, is it so egregious that those of us who are invested in that ecosystem should consider pulling out?

This last option — which is currently the only one available to those who truly object to Google’s new policy — could be very difficult, especially for Android users. And most especially for those who have recently invested in Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus Smartphone, which is pretty much useless outside of the Google net verse.
I must admit, the idea of being completely unable to opt out of specific privacy issues has me very troubled. My immediate reaction is to read Google’s policies, check out some of the more knowledgeable commentators on the subject, and if I find that I do agree with those privacy activists who believe that Google has stepped too far over the line, to join those hoping to pressure the company to alter its new policy.

Google’s new Privacy Policy will go into effect on March 1, 2012. It specifies what information Google collects, how it uses that information, the control users have over their information, accessing and updating personal information, and which information Google will share. The only applications that will not be part of this policy are Chrome and Chrome OS, Books and Wallet.

Google Terms of Service, which will also go into effect on March 1, 2012, includes the clause “Google’s privacy policies explain how we treat your personal data and protect your privacy when you use our Services. By using our Services, you agree that Google can use such data in accordance with our privacy policies.” There is a general explanation of Google’s policies and principles. The latter states explicitly, “If you continue to use Google services after March 1, you’ll be doing so under the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.”

Google’s applications and products have become an important resource for a large number of people. Their new policy has just been announced, and has over a month to be put into effect. Things can go several ways at this point: Google could simply stick to its guns and hope that the resulting fallout will only be a bit of bad publicity and a relatively few lost users. But if enough Google users become uneasy, Google could back off (the way Facebook has several times over the last few years), at least in it’s “all or nothing” opt-out policy. It will be interesting to watch.

Best Regards,

Kristina Kozlova

Marketing Manager



Altabel Group

Professional Software Development


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