Google set to unify customer data across most of its products

By Derek du Preez
25 Jan 2012 View Comments
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Google has revealed details of its new privacy policy that will see it consolidate more than 60 policies into one main document, allowing it to unify customer data across most of its products.

Google's director of privacy, Alma Whitten, wrote in a blog that the company currently has more than 70 privacy documents covering all its different products, which she claims is "at odds with [Google's] efforts to integrate different products more closely".

Further reading

The change in policy will mostly affect those with a Google Account, where if a user is signed in, Google may combine information on that user from one service with information from other services.

Whitten provides the example of Google's new personal search feature, where results of a search will not only be provided from the web, but also from your personal information across its other products, such as its social networking site Google+.

Google also indicates that the new policy will allow for better targeted ads – it will be able to tell a user if he or she will be late for a meeting based on their current location, and will be able to provide better spelling suggestions, even for names of people you know.

However, Google argues that this will not impact its stance on ensuring stringent data privacy and protection.

Whitten writes: "We remain committed to data liberation, so if you want to take your information elsewhere you can. We don't sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission, except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order.

"We try hard to be transparent about the information we collect, and to give you choices about how it is used".

The changes are set to take effect as of 1 March and users are being notified via email.

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