Google to release revised privacy policy in March
Google to release revised privacy policy in March

Google is to roll out an overarching privacy policy that covers the majority of its products and explains what information it collects and how it is used.

According to a blog by Alma Whitten, director of privacy, product and engineering at Google, it has 70 privacy documents that are "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".

The consolidated policy will include 60 documents and be released on 1 March. “The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you're signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services,” said Whitten.

“In short, we'll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

Whitten also said that the Google Terms of Service have been rewritten and reduced so they are easier to read, while the company remains committed to "data liberation", enabling users to take their information elsewhere.

However, according to the Washington Post, the move will involve Google following user activity across nearly all of its sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its search engine; users will not be able to opt out of the changes.

It said consumer advocates believe that the new policy may upset people who never expected their information would be shared across so many different websites.

Speaking at the launch of the Data Protection Directive for the EU, Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, welcomed the changes.

She said: “Google was quick, they moved before the commission decided on new EU law and made the first step into the new privacy rules. I  can only applaud companies that move in the right direction. [This proves that] we don't need to do it, we only need to announce it.”