The New Google Privacy Rule: One (7 page) Policy, One Google Experience

Image: PublicDomainVectors

In hearing that Google was changing their privacy policy and switching it to “one single policy”, I decided to check it out.  When I logged into my Gmail account, a page appeared that prompted me to either, a) move on to my Gmail account (this option was a bright blue button) or, b) read the new policy (this was a gray button that blended almost into the background.)

I clicked on the option to read the new policy and was surprised when confronted with a page full of text, not one simple sentence stating the new policy. Out of interest, I copied and pasted the information from the “Preview Privacy Policy”page and some information from the “Terms of Service Page” into a Word document.

All in all (without even copying every single page), I had a 26 page document in front of me.  Simple policy?  I think not.

The “Preview Policy” page itself is 7 pages when copied into a Word document. After reading it, I could not figure out what the privacy policy was or where it was stated.

On the policy preview page, it talks about the type of information they collect, how they use the information, transparency and choice, accessing and updating your information, information they share, information security and a few others subjects.

After reading the 7 page document, I am still wondering where the one simple policy is.

I am neither a technophobe nor a technophile, so I feel that I, as a typical user, should be able to find this information on a page titled “Policy Preview” quickly.

Is the new policy really 7 pages long?  Or have they buried it in the pages of information? Or do they not explicitly include the policy in the pages at all?  To be honest, I have no idea.

The page that leads the user to the “Policy Preview” states the following:

“We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google. This stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service now. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012. “

That seems easy enough right?

However, when I click on the Privacy Policy link, I am taken to the 7 pages of information.  Where is the “shorter and easier to read,” version?

I will be the first to say that Google is my ‘go to’ search engine.  It’s easy, intuitive and wicked useful.  That being said, I am immensely turned off that I, a person who considers herself an intelligent and technologically adept woman, cannot even FIND the new, simple, easy policy.

Am I missing something here?  My guess?: Many of us are missing something, and it’s not okay.  After all, in the words of Google, “This stuff matters”.



  1. Dave Chase says

    They just consolidated 60 different policies into one — seven pages is impressive? The gist is Google collects a lot of information on you and they will protect it from unauthorized access but reserve the right to share it within Google and with any company they contract with. Google services are mostly free because Google collects so much information that allows advertisers to mirco target — their privacy policy matches that model — they will use every bit of data to present you with an ad you are likely to click on. We are pretty lucky they didn’t go with a 100 pages of legalese to completely shield themselves from all litigation.

    • Brooklyn Dame says

      It’s a double-edged sword, Dave. I agree — the very thing that makes Google such an impressive search engine is the same as what makes them a bit frightening in terms of how much personal data they collect. It’s great to know that if I type in ‘Nova’ and I mean outer space versus old Chevy car, they can determine what I’m looking for based on prior searches but, at times, it’s a bit disconcerting to know that they know my next move before I do. Personally though, I am not as concerned with Google as I am about the firms with whom they contract. Privacy and information security are still evolving.

      Good to see you back!

  2. I find the way Google (in particular targetted ads) track searches and web browsing patterns slightly disconcerting. It would seem that no activity on the internet is truly private anymore. Google are providing a lot of great services for free, so if the price is a degree of privacy so be it!


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