It should be noted that Google Books, Google Wallet, and Google Chrome are all excluded from this policy, for various technical and regulatory reasons. For all other Google products, the tech giant will now collect and integrate all of your information in an effort to “make those services even better – to show you more relevant search results and ads, to help you connect with people or to make sharing with others quicker and easier.” What does that information include? Specifically, Google will share among its services the following (and more):
- Device Information – This will include what hardware you are using, related model numbers, and mobile network information, including phone numbers of your Android-powered phones that you operate while using a Google account.
- Location information – This will pull location information from the GPS functionality of your phone. As you might have guessed, this in particular isn’t going over terribly well with very many people.
But, Google supposedly is doing it for the sake of the end user. That’s fascinating, considering how many of those users seem to want nothing to do with the policy in the slightest, based on the backlash from Internet users, regulators, and governments alike. The fact that there is no opting out of the new policy is making even more people call into question just how user-friendly this move really is. And, if the web’s collective cynicism is accurate, it would mark a huge and somewhat disturbing break in the company culture of Google, from one based on allegiance to the users to one based on allegiance to the (advertising) dollar.
And, to be fair to Google, there will be benefits to end users. Search results will be better tailored to you based on previous web habits (I won’t touch on more efficient targeted advertising – if that appeals to you, fair play, but I’m guessing most users aren’t exactly salivating at the prospect of anything ad related). Certain words and names will not be flagged by the spell checker if you use them frequently, as well. Google reassures users that their information will not be sold, and personally identifying information will not be available to advertisers.