The Google Privacy Changes

This article, or versions like it, have been getting emailed and sent to me all day long. There’s three important things that you need to know from this article:

  1. Google is changing its privacy policy.
  2. The change allows Google to share your information with itself so that it can integrate it’s own products.
  3. Those changes happen March 1st and you can’t opt-out.

These changes aren’t bad, they are actually good, and Google is going about them the right way. Google didn’t just plop the changes on everyone, they are changing the necessary documents first and giving people a heads up.

Google said it would notify its hundreds of millions of users of the change through an e-mail and a message on its Web sites. It will apply to all of its services except for Google Wallet, the Chrome browser and Google Books.

Google isn’t trying to sell off your data to other people.

So the scary thing about this is: more targeted ads with the data being pulled from all the a google properties.

If someone watches an NBA clip online and lives in Washington, the firm could advertise Washington Wizards tickets in that person’s Gmail account.

That is scary, but a smart user already knows that Google has that information and all this change does is formally allows them to better tailor the ads to you. This is a fact of life with Google products. If you can’t accept that then you really shouldn’t be using Google products to begin with.

The part I think is worth focusing on (that others aren’t) is that this is not an “evil” move by Google. At least I don’t think it is in the same way that the Search+ changes are.

There is certainly a monetary reason for Google to do this,but more than that: this change will substantially improve Google’s services from the perspective of the user.

Consumers could also benefit, the company said. When someone is searching for the word “jaguar,” Google would have a better idea of whether the person was interested in the animal or the car. Or the firm might suggest e-mailing contacts in New York when it learns you are planning a trip there.

This move has the potential to not only help Google’s bottom line, but to help Google’s users. When’s the last time Google did that?

These services should have never been sandboxed to begin with, but they are. Google wants to change that. There’s good and bad with it, but I for one 1 think there is far more good than bad here.

  1. Not a Google lover.
Originally posted for members on: January 24, 2012
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