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Google has consolidated its privacy policies so that data held in separate product accounts will now be merged into one.

It means that when signed in, a user’s data will be shared across Gmail, YouTube, Google+, Maps and search.

More than 60 documents will be consolidated into one main privacy policy, which will be rolled out to all users on March 1st.

A blog post announcing the change said Google will “treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

In practice it says this will mean users get better search results and more relevant ads – which is probably what the updates boil down to.

Google has a huge amount of personal data on its users, but at the moment it is siloed, to an extent, in its various different services.

The new privacy policy is a logical step forward from Google’s integration of Google+ content into search results.

By combining the wealth of personal data it already holds, Google is enhancing its ability to run targeted ads which allows it to compete with Facebook, which already shows ads based on a users’ interaction with brands.

The update is sure to raise questions about Google’s use of private data which has been under scrutiny in the US and Europe for years.

For example, the blog post says Google will now be able to “provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day.”

Not all users will be comfortable letting Google take such control over their lives, despite its claims that it is trying to “help you by sharing more of your information.”

But as the changes will be rolled out worldwide in March, anyone with a Google account will need to get used to their data being freely shared across all its different products.

David Moth

Published 25 January, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1680 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Nick Stamoulis

At least Google is being upfront about the change. It may anger some, but it's the price you will need to pay to use Google's services and products for "free".

over 4 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

One of the big selling points for Google+ (or at least the reason why many people said they would ditch Facebook) was because they were sick of Facebook doing things with their data they weren't comfortable with or weren't sure what was happening with it. Now Google seem to want to take what Facebook do further.
I work n digital marketing so I can see the attraction it must be to them to have more and more info but I think the tech industry hasn't woken up to the fact people just don't want this kind of stuff, yes I will get a more relevant ad but I just don't want all my personal details used to give me this, plus I find it creepy and annoying.

They seem to have tried to wrap it up in a nice simple and friendly way with childish and informal fonts etc but it just doesn't cut it when they say they will know if you are late for a meeting. It isn't a problem I need a solution to.

Don't be evil, just be creepy instead

over 4 years ago

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Elin

Thanks for letting us know about Google's latest privacy update, as I log in today I didn't see any link or something that would grab my attention. Love google? Gotta pay the price.

over 4 years ago

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