New Google privacy settings are too extreme
From Google’s search page to Gmail to YouTube, the company will be monitoring activity and storing it in a database.
Google is getting rid of more than 60 different privacy policies within the company and replacing them with one that is a lot shorter and easier to read. The new policy also covers multiple products and features, which is supposedly is to create “one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google,” according to the email they sent Gmail users about the new policy.
The policy changes will take place March 1.
Google’s effort to update its privacy settings is well appreciated, but company went a bit far with its plan to save certain private information.
Google will analyze emails to suggest search queries, which is not OK. Email is a personal matter, and a lot of personal information is stored on Gmail accounts such as telephone numbers, addresses and credit card numbers.
Analyzing and storing information from personal emails brings up many questions: Will there be more arrests involving child pornography, drug use or, say, computer hacking?
Will Google be able to detect viruses sent via email? Probably not.
Google says its privacy principles have remained unchanged and will not sell personal information or share it without permission unless there are rare circumstances such as valid legal requests.
If signed into Google, the company can suggest search queries based on previous searches and information from email, and it can tailor search results based on the interests expressed in Google+, Gmail and YouTube.
“We would better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you’re searching for and get you those results faster,” Google’s policy email said.
Other examples of the new Google policy include: Google automatically signing a user into the user’s calendar upon logging onto Gmail; or putting ads on the page that relate to the content of the emails the user is reading and writing.
As Georgia College students, whose email addresses are linked through Google, this means that every email we send and receive will potentially be read by someone at Google.
There has been a significant amount of news coverage on the topic. CNN reported that eight members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, wrote a letter to Google CEO Larry Page asking for clarification on the changes.
Although the proposed shift in policy was to “make the consumer experience simpler,” as Google puts it, Congress wants to be sure it does not make protecting consumer privacy more complicated. The lawmakers also noted that because of Google’s global reach, the change could potentially affect billions of people worldwide.
We at The Colonnade believe Google is a phenomenon that people use every day to make their lives simpler. Soon, however, it has the potential to make lives more complicated. The term “Google it” may lose its appeal. We may need to get used to new terms like “Bing it,” or “Yahoo! it.”