Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What are you going to do about Google's new privacy policy?

Google is just about to change its privacy policy.  And the consequences are something you need to think about.

I have to be honest and admit I do not know much about this and have always been one to completely ignore warnings about security of information on the Internet...and I never read conditions of use when I sign up to a website. I know, for example, that Facebook collects personal information and sells it but I've made the decision that I can live with that although I am mindful about what I post on Facebook.

My understanding is that Google will be collecting a lot more data about us including all our search histories and use of email. And because Android smartphones run on Google operating systems, that extends Google's reach yet further. When you think about how Google is so much a part of our lives, you realise how much Google knows about us and the power it gives Google. Mike Elgan maintains there is nothing to worry about but other commentators are extremely concerned about the implications.

As I said, I do not pretend to understand much about this. However, the advice I have garnered from various writers is:
  • do not rely on Google for all your internet searches;
  • do not use Google for email;
  • use a variety of search engines for different functions. 
The other big piece of advice is to disable your web history in your Google account - for full information on how to do this and why you should do it, go to this article by Eve Galperin: How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google's New Privacy Policy Takes Effect.

I doubt this will make too much difference to the way I use Google although I have disabled my Google search history for the time being. However, it is never a bad thing to reflect on your use of the internet and keep a track on developments that may affect your privacy and use of information.

I'd love to hear from anyone who is more knowledgeable than me about these matters - what is your take on this move by Google?

Image: 'Just Expressing Her Opinion'


Carolyn Hastie said...

Sarah, you said one of the recommendations is not to use google for email? That means gmail? Oh no! I love gmail - so what to do??
Hmmm, you've got me thinking about this very seriously! Carolyn

Sarah Stewart said...

I cannot bear to ditch Google so will put up with this new approach. To be honest, I don't think you and I have anything to lose. But it is always good to be aware of these issues.