Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 7:59 AM ET
Last week we heard from members of Congress about Google’s plans to update our privacy policies by consolidating them into a single document on March 1. Protecting people’s privacy is something we think about all day across the company, and we welcome discussions about our approach.
We hope this letter, in which we respond to the members’ questions, clears up the confusion about these changes. We’re updating our privacy policies for two reasons:
First, we’re trying to make them simpler and more understandable, which is something that lawmakers and regulators have asked technology companies to do. By folding more than 60 product-specific privacy policies into our main Google one, we’re explaining our privacy commitments to users of those products in 85% fewer words.
Second, we want to make our users’ experience seamless and easy by allowing more sharing of information among products when users are signed into their Google Accounts. In other words, we want to make more of your information available to you when you’re signed into Google services.
Some important things aren’t changing:
- We’re still keeping your private information private -- we’re not changing the visibility of any information you have stored with Google.
- We’re still allowing you to do searches, watch videos on YouTube, get driving directions on Google Maps, and perform other tasks without signing into a Google Account.
- We’re still offering you choice and control through privacy tools like Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager that help you understand and manage your data.
- We still won’t sell your personal information to advertisers.
- We’re still offering data liberation if you’d prefer to close your Google Account and take your data elsewhere.