Google to merge user data across more services

Jan 24, 2012 By RYAN NAKASHIMA , AP Business Writer

Google Inc. is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.

For example, if you spent the last hour logged into to search the Web for skateboards, the next time you log into , there's a good chance you'll get recommendations for videos featuring Tony Hawk.

The changes take effect March 1 and remove some of the legal hurdles that Google faced by having more than 70 different across various services. Now, there will be one main policy covering services such as Google Plus, , search, YouTube and Maps, with separate ones covering sensitive services such as Google Wallet.

Still, the changes could irk privacy critics because of the sheer volume of information collected - including your location, list of contacts and the contents of your email.

Google hopes to improve the across its different services and give advertisers a better way to find customers.

"If you're signed into Google, we can do things like suggest - or tailor your search results - based on the interests you've expressed in Google (Plus), Gmail, and YouTube," the company says on a new overview page for its privacy policy. "We'll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you're searching for and get you those results faster."

Ryan Calo, director for privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said Google is trying to do the best it can to simplify its privacy policy and make it transparent without bogging down people with pages of legalese. The privacy documents now run about 10,000 words, down from 68,000.

But he said the company still needs to be careful how it uses the data so that it helps users, without revealing sensitive information.

"If it creeps people out, then they need to be aware of that," he said.

Explore further: 'Map spam' puts Google in awkward place

0 shares

Related Stories

Privacy group files FTC complaint on Google Buzz

Feb 16, 2010

(AP) -- A privacy watchdog group complained to federal regulators on Tuesday about Google's new Buzz social networking service, saying it violates federal consumer protection law.

Google sued for alleged privacy violations

Oct 26, 2010

Google is being targeted in a class action suit that alleges it violates the privacy of its users by sharing personal information and Internet search queries of its users with third parties.

Google updates privacy policy

Sep 03, 2010

Google updated its privacy policy on Friday, a day after a video cartoon featuring the Internet firm's chief giving away ice cream to snoop on children aired on a giant screen in Times Square.

Recommended for you

'Map spam' puts Google in awkward place

36 minutes ago

Google was re-evaluating its user-edited online map system Friday after the latest embarrassing incident—an image of an Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo.

Google search mobile switch a revolution for some

16 hours ago

Google's latest Internet revolution this week saw the web giant modify its search algorithm to favour mobile-friendly sites, in a bid to upstage Apple that US media branded a "mobilegeddon".

Cheap content, growing reach make Snapchat a fast-rising star

Apr 22, 2015

Thousands of revelers descended on the Coachella music festival this month to rock out to their favorite bands and party day and night. But a far bigger audience from around the world - at least 40 million - joined in remotely ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.