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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 8 Points On Google’s New Privacy Policy

March 1 has finally come, which means Google’s long talked-about new privacy policy is now in place. The rumors about the changes have been flying wildly since Google first announced them back in January, but the truth is that very few people have actually taken the time to learn what the new policy really means.  But since Google is now operating under the new policy, it’s more important than ever to understand how it will affect you.  

Below are the top eight points you should know about Google’s new privacy policy.

1. Google is not selling your personal data
When Google first announced these changes, there was a popular belief that the cloud service provider would begin selling user’s personal data.  However, this is simply a myth.  Google is not selling your information, or even sharing it, with anyone.

2. Google has simply consolidated its many privacy policies into one
The big change for the new privacy policy is actually quite simple.  Previously, Google had a distinct privacy policy for each of its many services.  Now, Google has one, giant policy for the majority of its services.  This change means a simpler, easier-to-understand privacy policy that applies to most of the Google platforms you use regularly.

3. Google now has a complete snapshot of your web presence
Since Google now has one all-encompassing privacy policy, it now has a complete snapshot of your internet activity.  Basically, this means Google can track your activity as one user across its many platforms, which enables it to put together a complete picture of you as a Google user.  Why is this important?  Google plans to use this information to improve its services.  To get a better idea of exactly what this means, you can use the Google Dashboard to see your activity across all Google platforms just like Google does.

4. You will soon see more personalization
A major component of the improved services is more personalization.  With its complete user picture, Google will soon get a better idea of who you are online - how and where you spend your time on the web, what you tend to look for, and what you usually find the most beneficial.  Google will use this information to give you more of what you like and less of what you don’t, therefore personalizing its services to suit your individual needs.  Examples of this personalization include automatic spelling corrections, suggested contact lists, better search results, and advertisements geared toward your interests.  You can even contribute to the personalization with tools like the Ads Preference Manager, which allows you to designate what kinds of ads you want to see.

5. Google’s platforms are now working together
Because most of Google’s platforms now share the same privacy policy, they are working together more than ever before.  This close integration allows for a smoother connection when working across multiple Google platforms, such as Gmail and Google Docs.  How will this connection actually affect you?  There are many ways, one of which is notifications.  With the changes in place, if you use Google Calendar to mark appointments and Google Maps to get to these appointments, you may now receive a notification indicating whether or not you’ll make it to the appointment on time.  This is because the two platforms can now share information with one another like you’re destination, the time you need to be there, you’re current location, and traffic conditions.

6. To experience more personalization and collaboration, you need to use more Google services
Google is able to offer this more personalized service because of the way it can now see your complete user data across all of its platforms.  To receive the most personalized services, as well as to get the most benefits from the increased collaboration between platforms, you need to use a variety of Google services on a regular basis.  This is because the more services you use, and the more often you use them, the more information about you Google will have to draw on when it comes to personalization.  Given this, Google Apps users, who tend to use the most Google platforms regularly, are likely to see the most changes in the shortest amount of time.

7. You can still use Google without having information tracked
These changes may be a lot for some people to take in, which is why there are ways you can still use Google services without having your information tracked.  Examples of tools that allow this are the “incognito window” in the Google Chrome web browser, which allows you to slip off Google’s radar, and “off the record” chat in Gmail.  Additionally, if you want to conduct a simple search or watch YouTube videos without Google noticing, you can easily sign out of your Google account.

8. Google will now be meeting your needs better and faster
Now that all of these changes are in place, you can expect Google to meet your needs better and faster.  From more personalized services to increased collaboration across platforms, the changes resulting from Google’s new privacy policy are all poised to improve your user experience.

Cloud Sherpas is a leading cloud service provider and was named the “Google Enterprise 2011 Partner of the Year.” As one of the first Google Enterprise partners, Cloud Sherpas has migrated over one million users across a variety of industries from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps, helping organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses. Headquartered in Atlanta, Cloud Sherpas has regional offices in locations including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Austin and Sydney, and has more Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists than any other partner in the world.

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