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Google Privacy Policy Changes - A Big Deal?

  
  
  

google peeking in on woman's privacyby Dave Maloney
Recently there's been a lot of press about the big changes in the new Google Privacy Policy, with opposers arguing that their privacy is being invaded. Although Google defends that the new changes are only to make your online experience better and more helpful, the whole "Big Brother is watching" thing was bound to come up.

The main "improvements" are

  1. that Google has combined all of their individual policies into one single Google Privacy Policy, designed to be simpler to understand; and
  2. Google can use information it has collected from one of its services with any or all of its other services, intended to make your whole Google experience more "custom-tailored" to you.

Now although the deadline Google offered for you to clear your search history before the changes went into effect has passed, there are still things you can do if you're really worried.

What you can do

  • Don't be logged in to Google or any of its other products while your searching or surfing. Other products/sites that you may not know Google owns include Chrome, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, Feedburner, Orkut, Android and of course Google Plus and Gmail. So log in to check your Gmail, but you can log back out again to search, use Google Maps or watch YouTube videos, and the data won't be added to your "profile."
  • You can delete your browsing history in your Google account, your Youtube account, Google Chrome, etc. Just log in, go to your account settings or tools, and it usually takes a minute. It's not a bad idea to clear your cache once in a while no matter what browser you use - (especially in IE, but we won't get into that here)
  • Try not using Google at all (and see how long that lasts!) There are many other search engines out there, some you've heard of and tons you probably haven't - you'll be back using Google in no time and forget all about the big changes in their privacy policy!

Google says their principles and respect for your privacy haven't changed (they been collecting your data all along), and you can read (or skim) the whole new Google Privacy Policy here.

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