Google Updates Privacy Policies

    September 3, 2010
    Chris Crum

Google announced that it is updating its privacy policies to make them simpler. They don’t appear to have any changes involving CEO Eric Schmidt driving around neighborhoods in an ice cream truck, luckily.

Google isn’t actually changing any of its privacy practices. It’s just trying to make the language more understandable. Google Associate General Counsel Mike Yang outlines the updates:

  1. Most of our products and services are covered by our main Google Privacy Policy. Some, however, also have their own supplementary individual policies. Since there is a lot of repetition, we are deleting 12 of these product-specific policies. These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well.
  2. We’re also simplifying our main Google Privacy Policy to make it more user-friendly by cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits so people can understand them more easily. For example, we’re deleting a sentence that reads, “The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,” since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies.

    In addition, we’re adding:

  • More content to some of our product Help Centers so people will be able to find information about protecting their privacy more easily; and
  • A new privacy tools page to the Google Privacy Center. This will mean that our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place.

Google says the updates will take effect on October 3. The company’s main privacy policy can be found here. There is also an FAQ here. We’ll see what Consumer Watchdog, who is running the above satircal video in Times Square, has to say about it.