Google’s new privacy changes take effect March 1 and if you haven’t read them yet you should. You can find them online here. Here is a little summary of what these policy changes mean for Google services users.
- If you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. (Sort of like how Facebook is now working with services like Yahoo to automatically post content to your timeline sharing what you have read).
- We can make search better – but that means storing your private information and pulling from it for everything from calendars to search topics (have you noticed the Google auto find feature where you start to type a word or phrase and it finishes it for you for example)
- We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order.
Here is their simple explanation video . . .
If this concerns you there are some steps that you can take to protect your online privacy. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) offers these six steps for protecting your online privacy, and they are very good pieces of advice. They also demonstrate how to take these steps. These steps include:
- Don’t include personal information in your search terms. Have you “Googled” yourself? That’s one way to create a “roadmap” right back to you.
- Don’t use your ISP’s search engine.
- Avoid logging in and using your search engine (whether it is Yahoo, Bing or Google)
- Block cookies (and they will tell you how)
- Vary your IP address (which is a lot simpler than it sounds)
- And using anonymizing software.