Google must have had a meeting at the end of 2011 that possibly went something like this.
Larry Page: We are going to do so much stuff at the start of 2012 that it will get the Internet industry types’ knickers in such a twist that they won’t know what hit them.
Staff: Will our bonus be tied to it?
Staff: We’re all in.
The latest update is regarding Google’s privacy policies. In short, they are attempting to consolidate products and the privacy policies that each carry. Oh and according to the Washington Post there is no opt out. But first let’s have a video interlude courtesy of the Google blog.
Back to that little opt-out thingy from the Post.
The Web giant announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its leading search engine.
Google has already been collecting some of this information. But for the first time, it is combining data across its Web sites to stitch together a fuller portrait of users.
Consumers won’t be able to opt out of the changes, which take effect March 1. And experts say the policy shift will invite greater scrutiny from federal regulators of the company’s privacy and competitive practices.
The move will help Google better tailor its ads to people’s tastes. If someone watches an NBA clip online and lives in Washington, the firm could advertise Washington Wizards tickets in that person’s Gmail account.
There will be outrage. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth from Internet insiders who have the ear of Silicon Valley types. As for the 99.9% of the world? They won’t know anything happened and won’t care either. The only other people that will notice are the headline hungry folks in DC. That should be enough to keep them busy until after the election them they can get back to good old fashion graft and corruption.
So how does Google present this?
First, our privacy policies. Despite trimming our policies in 2010, we still have more than 70 (yes, you read right … 70) privacy documents covering all of our different products. This approach is somewhat complicated. It’s also at odds with our efforts to integrate our different products more closely so that we can create a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google.
So what should we make of it? As much or as little as you want. The reality is that while there may be the ability for end users to tweak settings most won’t bother or won’t even know to bother. Google, however, wants to make sure that they have said there is a level of control even if opting out is not an option.
Finally, what we’re not changing. We remain committed to data liberation, so if you want to take your information elsewhere you can. We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order. We try hard to be transparent about the information we collect, and to give you meaningful choices about how it is used—for example our Ads Preferences Manager enables you to edit the interest categories we advertise against or turn off certain Google ads altogether. And we continue to design privacy controls, like Google+’s circles, into our products from the ground up.
In the end all this means is better information for advertisers for more efficient ad delivery. A marketer’s dream. And Google’s as well.