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What Does Google’s New Privacy Policy Mean for You?

Google’s privacy policy update is set to go live today, March 1. The major change bundles more than 60 of Google’s privacy policies into one, which means users across all of Google’s platforms, from YouTube to Picasa to Blogger and even Google’s search tool, will have just one profile.

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The story might be plastered across the Internet, everywhere from Business Insider to the New York Times, but is this really a big deal?

Privacy advocates seem to think so, as do a fair few members of Congress and the European Commission, who suspects the new policy may violate European law. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the change violates a recent settlement with the commission regarding privacy changes. ”The company’s changes call into question how Google plans to use this information now and in the future,” Markey said. “I will continue to monitor this situation.”

Google stands strong, stating that the update will allow it “to improve our products in ways that help our users get the most from the web.” Google also added that before this policy was set in place, they had “been restricted in our ability to combine your YouTube and Search histories with other information in your account. Our new Privacy Policy gets rid of those inconsistencies so we can make more of your information available to you when using Google.”

A couple of Google’s services will be spared from the policy including Chrome and mobile payment processor Wallet, which will run on separate privacy policies. But for registered users of Gmail, Google+, and YouTube, there’s no escaping the personal data Google can gather.

“We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users,” Google insists. “We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe.”

Google talks a great game. But can it be trusted?

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To contact the reporter on this story: Lindsey Grossman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com