From the 1st of March 2012, new privacy settings will be put into place by Google on the full range of their products. These new rule will be unified across the full platform.
Google has simplified their privacy settings and user agreement so that a single document can be applied to their full range of products. The changes will come into effect on the 1st of March 2012. Users will be warned by email, with Google to start advertising the changes to users through a dedicated page.
This announcement has been made in preparation for Saturday’s Data Protection day organised by the European Parliament with the support of the European Commission. Google is often criticised of having privacy settings that are too complex for normal users to understand.
Responsible for managing Google’s privacy settings, Alma Whitten explains that the main change being made for users with Google accounts: "we'll treat you as a single user across all our products".
For Google, the aim is to have a more global view of their services, rather than the current fragmented offer (Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google+...): "If you’re signed into Google, we can do things like suggest search queries – or tailor your search results – based on the interests you’ve expressed in Google+, Gmail, and YouTube. We’ll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you’re searching for and get you those results faster."
This personalisation will also touch targeted advertising. Google assures that the protection of user’s privacy will remain unchanged. "We will never sell or share your personal information without your authorisation".
According to the Associated Press, Google has declared that they have been in contact with US regulators (Federal Trade Commission) for these changes to be made to their privacy settings. This won’t prevent some from criticising them for their use of Google+ which allows them to trace what internet users are doing.