Many of us know that Google is not just a web search company. It creates a mobile operating system, is collaborative office software, a Skype competitor, a social network, and a virtual map creator. All of these different products had separate privacy policies, which controlled how much information you wanted to give and to whom. Now, however, Google considers itself one big product, not just a compilation of smaller ones, and is collecting data based on one, company-wide policy.
Google says this will help it provide people with more personally curated results in search, advertisements, spell-check, adding contacts to calendars and more. Recently, the company introduced its new Search Plus Your World, which gave a sneak peak at how Google might use data it acquires from you on different products. Search Plus Your World takes Google+ data, Google social network, and integrates it into search results on the regular Google search website. You see photos Google+ friends have uploaded, posts and people that are relevant to your search. This brought up recent anti-trust accusations as social competitors such as Twitter complained that their results were not also included.
What may stir some is the inability to opt-out of this sharing of data across Google’s products. Google specifically says at the end of its blog post announcing the policy changes that it upholds “data liberation,” and says “if you want to take your information elsewhere you can.”
The change will officially take effect on March 1st. You can login to http://www.google.com/dashboard to see most of the data Google has accumulated on you. It does not include everything, however, such as server logs, cookies and advertising data.