All for One- Google’s New Privacy Policy

Google is more than a search engine.  Google is the home of YouTube, Picasa, Blogger and many more companies. Although all under Google, these individual services do not combine their users’ information. However, this is all going to change.

On March 1st, Google replaces 60 product specific privacy policies with one new privacy policy.  Under the new policy, Google can share user information among the Google family. The data in the Google Universe is extensive.  As the Washington Post points out, “Google collects and can integrate almost anything that’s already in the Google ecosystem: calendar appointments, location data, search preferences, contacts, personal habits based on Gmail chatter, device information and search queries, to name a few. ”

Integrating all of this information puts a lot of eggs all in one basket. Kids who have Google accounts should check their Google Dashboard to see what accounts will now be combined. To get to the Dashboard, users need to login to Google, go to “Account Settings,” select “Products,” and then “Login to Dashboard.” Here kids can see all of their Google accounts including Google+, YouTube, and Gmail.

While in the Dashboard, kids can check out what  information is available on each service. Remember, certain services like Google+ require real names while YouTube accounts do not.  When this account information is combined, a real name will be associated across all services.

Although kids cannot opt out of this new privacy policy, they are a couple ways to avoid sharing data between services. Kids can set up separate accounts for each.  For instance, a Google+ profile could have a separate Gmail account from a YouTube channel. Another way is not to log in into any Google account.  Google can only integrate your information if you are signed in.  But, if your kid has an Android phone, this may not work.  Without signing into Google, they will be limited in what they can do on their phone.

To learn more about Google’s new privacy policy check out “Google’s Privacy Policy” and Microsoft’s response “Gmail Man.”