Google Privacy Policy changes outrage activists

Google has updated its privacy policy, replacing the individual agreements for each service like Gmail, Google+ and YouTube with a single policy that already has privacy advocates screaming. Although Google's new terms of service – which will come into effect on March 1 – won't involve collecting any more user information than is currently, it will allow the search giant's various services to share that information between themselves, rather than keep it siloed. From Google's perspective, that allows them to better tailor information to individual users; viewed from a different angle, it's an even greater amount of data and inference one company knows about you.

Google says it will use the harmonized data to improve its services. Spelling corrections will get better, auto-suggestions will become more accurate – and potentially confused topics, like Jaguar cars or jaguar cats, will be less likely to frustrate – and altogether more intelligent mash-ups of data will be enabled, such as using your location, calendar and traffic data to warn you if you're likely to be late to an appointment.

However, privacy advocates have long been complaining about the extent of the data Google currently holds on each of its users, and this shift to collate that information has done nothing to assuage their concerns.

"Regulators globally have been calling for shorter, simpler privacy policies" Google points out, "and having one policy covering many different products is now fairly standard across the web." The search company has also streamlined its language, in the hope that anyone who actually does read the new document – condensed down from around sixty policies to one – will stand a better chance of actually understanding it.

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