The new search feature allows users to see personalized results in three different ways: Personal Results, Profiles in Search and People and Pages. For those who have signed in with their Google+ accounts, even more personalized results are available. In a move to prevent public outcry, Google’s new policy is available to read now.
The way in which Google collects information from its users hasn’t changed. However, that information will be used differently on Search, plus Your World. For example, the site states that your information could be used in a way that assists you with your daily commute, such as your arrival time for a meeting based on where you live, your task list and the traffic situation in your area.
Even the amount of information you share on social media sites like Facebook can result in much of it being released. Most sites assume that you automatically consent to their sharing of your information when you sign up for an account, because most will post their policy during the sign up process and not allow you to continue until you’ve checked the box that says you’ve read their terms.
That being said, Google says its new policy doesn’t change much, save for being much easier for people to understand and becoming slightly more condensed. Again, the company isn’t collecting more information from users; it’s just using the information it collects in a different way.
It states that no personal information will be shared without the user’s permission unless a higher authority, such as a court of law, demands the release of that information.
So what do these changes mean to you if you are a Google user who uses a number of their services? It will mean that your information will be even more personalized than before whenever you choose to use Google. While this is convenient, users may want to keep their eyes open for objections from the same policymakers who condemned the company for allegedly making their Google Buzz product difficult to opt out of.
Taking Control of Your Privacy
The Google Dashboard offers many options for setting the privacy level that’s most comfortable for you, which means that it could take awhile. Thankfully, the company offers a video about how to navigate within the Dashboard.
The company’s stance on transparency is impressive. The “Good To Know” section of the site tells you exactly how your information is used by Google, in addition to providing good information about how to protect yourself online in general.
Whether there will be public outcry over the new policy or it will be readily adopted by all Google users remains to be seen. Some time may have to pass before the new policy is implemented to accurately gauge its effect on users.
Understanding the basics of general internet privacy protection is definitely a good start to ensuring that you are only sharing information you are comfortable with companies and web sites knowing about.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Brosuga is a freelance writer who focuses a lot of her time on technology-related topics. Check out her latest article on cloud based television technology at http://www.highspeed-internet-providers.com/article4.html.