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Google’s Message Leaves Little Searching for Answers

Many of us recently received the same message from Google. It is the one explaining how the digital browser is consolidating all of its many privacy policies into one central system.

Effective March 1, the new policy will mean that Google can track its users across any Google-related entity. The aggregated data can then be sold to advertisers, which is one of the ways Google makes a living.

There are lots of discussions among privacy advocates regarding how these changes will affect consumers. But let’s just look at Google’s communication’s effort. Its email, sent Jan. 25, reads:

Dear Google user,

We’re getting rid of over 60 privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.

We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies.

The message then offers short information blurbs under headlines such as, “Tailored for you,” “Protecting your privacy hasn’t changed,” and “Understanding how Google uses your data.”

The message also provides a link to the recently launched http://www.google.com/goodtoknow website, which provides tips on how to protect one’s privacy.

Regardless of the argument behind Google’s new policy, its message is a welcome model of simplicity. At a time when consumers are inundated with confusing privacy policies and increasingly suspicious of how their information is being used, Google cuts through the static with clear statements highlighting the benefits creating one continuous data experience. Google is providing examples of how the information will be used and it’s in plain English! Wow.

Whether Google really thinks it is being permission based, however, is another matter. It is basically saying, “After this date, if you use my services, then you are accepting these terms. You can modify it, but you have to go and do it yourself.”

What are your thoughts?

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