This year, Google changed its privacy policies, consolidating policies for various products into a more unified policy encompassing most Google products. This was announced back in January, and was implemented in March.
Google faced a fair amount of criticism over the move at the time, but for the most part, the concern had evaporated from the headlines. Now, however, it’s back, as The Guardian reports, citing unnamed sources, that the change is expected to “come under fire from European data protection commissioners within days.”
The group of 30 data protection commissioners from across the European Union, The Guardian reports, “are believed to have determined that Google has breached EU privacy laws.”
Consider Facebook for comparison. Google+ is like Facebook’s news feed. Picasa Web Albums (or perhaps Google+ photos) are like Facebook’s photos. Google.com is like Facebook’s search feature. Google Docs is like Facebook’s Notes feature. And so forth. Such a comparison could only become more substantiated as Facebook launches its recently discussed search offering.
This is the way the competitive landscape is progressing for Google (at least one of the paths), and the company has made these changes accordingly.
It will be interesting to see if any action is taken against Google by the EU, and what competitive ramifications that might have for Google in Europe (and how that might affect how Google’s policies are viewed in other regions, for that matter). Interestingly enough, Google also faces competition-related scrutiny in Europe as well.