The initial idea was to simplify the model so that users would see Google as a single service provider that gave access to a single portfolio through centralized access and, therefore, the traditional “services” (Google + Search, Gmail , Google Calendar, etc) would become a single entity which may share user information.
Seen this way, the data we generate using any service could be used at the time an ad is displayed or when performing a search. Obviously, many users were not pleased with this change and public institutions started investigating this issue. In order to avoid a possible conflict, Google has sent a letter to Congress explaining these changes.
The first wake-up call came last week with concerns to the Google Apps for Governments, the package of cloud services that Google offers to public administrations. That a government decides to jump into the cloud is quite an achievement and, in the event of a decision, it is normal for them to require certain guarantees of privacy for their stored data. However, this announcement by Google put the corporate clients into panic mode because the general belief was that Mountain View based company was also going to process data from corporate users.
Very good, companies will not be affected by these changes, but what about us, the “simple” users? How do these changes affect us? Google has responded to this question with a file of 12 pages sent to several U.S. Congressmen, a letter signed by Pablo Chavez, director of public policy at Google.
One of the arguments that Google emphasizes is simplicity, in fact this is one of the main themes of the video that shows these changes. To reduce the 60 existing legal documents to one is an advantage for users because this reduces by 15% the total privacy agreement. Furthermore, Google claims that this reunion is a benefit to the user since it will be much easier for the company to offer better customization (having much more info about each user).
If you think about it, is this something Google hasn’t been doing for a long time?