Google’s single privacy policy: much ado about nothing?

# Despite many and varied concerns Google has pushed ahead with its single privacy policy. Does the company now do evil?

Google's Single Privacy Policy: much ado about nothing?

Maybe I've just been suckered in but I still fail to understand the huge outcry over the Google Single Privacy Policy. Are there genuine concerns or is this all much ado about nothing?

Google will not be collecting any extra data and will still not provide any personally identifiable data to third parties without explicit consent.

While there were previously over 70 separate privacy policies these did not act in isolation and already included the provision to share data between services (with a couple of exceptions such as YouTube, presumably as it was an acquisition and not a native service).

Have things really changed that much?

Google is accused of pandering to the wants of advertisers rather than the needs of users but, whilst I would agree that not everything that has happened in the last year is in the needs of the user, Google is actually building on its own needs rather than those of advertisers. Google needs to improve the effectiveness of its targeting systems in order to attract more advertisers and therefore stay competitive in an increasingly difficult market.

Advertisers will always target the consumer but the internet has improved the efficiency of the targeting process. No longer do advertisers have to put out fairly generic ads based on the magazine you are reading or TV program you are watching in the hope that a sufficient percentage will react.

I don't know about you but I'm all in favour of seeing ads that are more relevant to me as an individual rather than a lot of the rubbish I have inflicted upon me.

On the Plus side

I said back in January that I saw the single privacy policy as a key factor in the more widespread integration of the G+ social layer with other Google services - the three factors that I remarked were all falling in to place were:

  • teens
  • pseudonyms
  • the single privacy policy

I believe it was no coincidence that these three were implemented/announced so close together. Because of the diversity of services and users across the Google ecosystem each of the three factors above were potential blockers to full integration.

With Plus in its arsenal Google is becoming ever more like Facebook in operation but the latter has everything contained within one walled garden. Google has many gardens and just wants to be able to play ball over the fence or, even, tear the fences down.

Am I wrong? Let me know.

Why not discuss the original post on Google+.

Image by Sean MacEntee

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