INTERNET SEARCH AND ADVERTISING FIRM Google has come up with a plan to merge its users' accounts across its whole portfolio.
Updates to privacy policies should always be treated with caution as they tend not to be to the benefit of users. This plan hatched by Google has already gathered opponents.
At Google though, it's all good, and according to the firm it is an early Spring cleaning that will sort out what has become a complex of overlapping privacy policies.
"Despite trimming our policies in 2010, we still have more than 70 (yes, you read right ... 70) privacy documents covering all of our different products. This approach is somewhat complicated. It's also at odds with our efforts to integrate our different products more closely so that we can create a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google," said Alma Whitten, director of Privacy, Product and Engineering at Google.
The change should appease regulators, added Whitten, as they have been calling for "shorter, simpler privacy policies". The main change is that when users sign in to one Google property they will be signed in across all of them,
"In short, we'll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience," said Whitten. "People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out."
It's a flowery announcement and one that does not sound too chilling. Google promises that it will not sell its users personal information and will not share it without their permission unless told to do so by a court order. However, it might not be taken lightly by all parties.
Google has already been chided recently over its decision to make its searches more personal. When it announced that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) suggested that it might be of interest to competition regulators, while Twitter was also a vocal opponent. µ
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