Google to combine users' data across its services
Rewritten privacy policies allow Google to use data in a variety of services if a Google Accounts user is signed in
IDG News Service - Google will be able to combine data from several Google services when a Google Accounts user is signed in, as part of a rewritten set of privacy policies that the company announced on Tuesday.
Google said it added the new capability so it can provide better and more targeted services. For example, by combining information from Google Calendar and Google Maps, the company could deliver reminders of a scheduled meeting that take into account how far the user is from the meeting location and how the traffic is on the way, said Alma Whitten, Google's director of privacy product and engineering, in a blog post on Tuesday.
The changes will take effect on March 1, and Google said it was starting to inform users about them via email and a homepage notice. They are included in a major update of Google's privacy policies that, among other things, will consolidate the policies for a majority of Google products into one policy. Taking more than 70 privacy documents, Google has combined more than 60 of them into that main policy, Whitten wrote. Google also said it has cut down on the Google Terms of Service and made them easier to read.
"We believe this new, simpler policy will make it easier for people to understand our privacy policies as well as enable Google to improve the services we offer," Whitten wrote. In addition, she said governments have called for shorter and simpler privacy rules, she wrote.
The new policy, a preview of which appears here, is a significant revision from the current one, said Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit public-interest research group in San Diego.
Privacy is a touchy issue for Internet-based services as they collect growing amounts of information about users. Google Buzz, the ill-fated predecessor to the company's recently introduced Google+ social networking service, drew fire for the way in which the company shared information and notified users about how it had shared.
Whitten pointed to the recently introduced "Search, plus Your World" feature as an example of combining information across services. Rolled out earlier this month, it lets Google Accounts users see posts from Google+ friends and other personal sources in the results of a search from Google's home page.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Data on the Move = Business on the Move; How Strategic Secure Managed File Transfer Adds Value and Drives Business This whitepaper describes the formal and informal file-sharing methods business employees use to perform their daily functions and explains that, from sending small...
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- Supercharge Your Web and Mobile App Development with High-Productivity Hybrid Cloud Webinar: Hear from industry experts about the amazing power at the intersection of next-generation web and mobile application development and cloud platforms.
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control. All Internet White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!