For those using a Google account for services, information from one service to another will be combined into a single data pool. This hodge podge of data can then be shared from service to service through Google and imported into targeted ads, videos and more that the company sells to advertisers. While your data itself will be safe from third parties, it is the way Google wants to share information from service to service that is in question.
Alma Whitten, Google’s Director of Privacy, said of the changes:
“In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”
Google asserts it still believes in the things that made them stand out from other web sites and search engines over the years. Things such as being able to take your data with you and not selling your information. However, these platitudes have fallen on deaf ears as more and more people are beginning to question whether Google wants to change the world or simply join the corporate atmosphere of earning money above standing by principle.
You will also be prompted to read about the changes upon logging into a service if you have not already received the e-mail Google has sent out about the changes.
Let’s say you wake up one morning and decide you want to check out what the buzz is about with Madonna’s upcoming Super Bowl appearance. You use YouTube to first try to preview some tracks from her new album or watch her latest music video. After watching a few videos, you head out to work for the day and later that same day you decide to check your e-mail. You may be greeted with ads for Madonna’s latest album and local retailers who carry it. Google took the information you searched for on YouTube and changed the way the ads worked in Gmail to display what they thought you might want to see.
Google will basically be able to take the information you use on multiple services, share them with others and personalize what they call the “Google experience” for you. While for some this may be beneficial or they see no harm, for others this is an invasion of privacy especially when it comes to data from their chats, calendars and e-mails that they thought were safe from such intrusion.