Google privacy update will track you across products

Google privacy update will track you across products
Don't be evil, don't be evil, don't be evil...

The days of Google users trawling through tens of different privacy policies (which you obviously have been doing 'til now) are over as the search giant has brought most of its products under one single policy.

It makes sense for a company that has over 70 privacy documents currently in place – most of us probably didn't even know that each Google product has its own rules and regulations.

People with Google Accounts will see the biggest change. The company's blog post on the matter says, "If you're signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services."

While Google reckons this makes for a "simpler, more intuitive Google experience", it may actually prove more of a worry to some when they see their Google documents showing up in Gmail or contact details from one area of their lives popping up in another.

Better for us

The changes might be helpful for users but they're better for Google, says Sophos' security expert Graham Cluley.

"Although reducing its 60+ different privacy policies down into one should mean less legalese for people to read, Google gets a big benefit from this change: it can now consolidate what it knows about you from the various Google products you use," he told TechRadar.

"That means Google will be able to get a fuller picture of you. For instance, it will be able to share what it knows about you from your use of Gmail, with what it knows about what videos you have watched on YouTube, what locations you've looked up on Google Maps, and what you've searched for on the net.

"As a result of this change, the potential value of the data Google stores about you has grown enormously. And, of course, the more Google knows about you the easier it will be to target you with advertising.

"Google has been dragged over the coals by privacy regulators in the past, and chances are that these changes will also be scrutinized by the powers that be."

All this juicy extra information about you also ties in quite nicely with Search Plus Your World, the social search feature that's landed Google in a spot of hot water already.

The Google Terms of Service have been updated too, making them easier to read and shorter than ever before – you can check them out here.

If all those pesky words are a bit much for you, Google has produced a short video to explain that everything is fine, just sign on the dotted line and you'll feel better about it all.

From Google

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.