On Tuesday, Google announced that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including youtube, gmail, and its search engine. Google has already been collecting some of this information. But for the first time, it is combining data across its Web sites to to come up with better portraits of users. WARNING: Consumers won’t be able to opt out of the changes and the policy takes effect on March 1.
This new policy might upset people who never expected their information would be shared across so many different websites. For instance, a user signing up for gmail might never have imagined that the content of his or her messages could affect the experience on seemingly unrelated websites such as youtube. Google can collect information about users when they activate an Android mobile phone, sign into their accounts online or enter search terms. It can also store cookies on people’s computers to see which websites they visit or use its popular maps program to estimate their location. However, users who have not logged on to Google or one of its other sites, such as youtube, are not affected by the new policy.
Google said it would notify its hundreds of millions of users of the change through an e-mail and a message on its websites. It will apply to all of its services except for Google Wallet, the Chrome browser, and Google Books. What do you think of this policy?