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There Can Be Only One: Google Unveils Simpler New Privacy Policy

Responding to critics, online giant Google this weekend unveiled a simpler new privacy policy that it says replaces over 60 different privacy policies across its various services. The policy was revealed in an email to customers less than a week afterthe company said it would be making major changes.

"We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service," the email message to customers reads. "These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012."

According to the email, key aspects of the new privacy policy include:

Easy to work across Google. Our new policy reflects a single product experience that does what you need, when you want it to. Whether you're reading an email that reminds you to schedule a family get-together or finding a favorite video that you want to share, we want to ensure you can move across Gmail, Calendar, Search, YouTube, or whatever your life calls for with ease.

Tailored for you . If you're signed into Google, we can do things like suggest search queries – or tailor your search results – based on the interests you've expressed in Google+, Gmail, and YouTube. We'll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you're searching for and get you those results faster.

Easy to share and collaborate. When you post or create a document online, you often want others to see and contribute. By remembering the contact information of the people you want to share with, we make it easy for you to share in any Google product or service with minimal clicks and errors.

Protecting your privacy hasn't changed. Our goal is to provide you with as much transparency and choice as possible, through products like Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager, alongside other tools. Our privacy principles remain unchanged. And we'll never sell your personal information or share it without your permission (other than rare circumstances like valid legal requests). 

Got questions? We've got answers. Visit our FAQ at to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)

I will say this for Google: As much as the company copies its competitors, this is a step in the right direction and absolutely a step away from the silliness and complexity of, say, Facebook's impossible to understand or navigate privacy policy. Plain English is always appreciated--well, in English-speaking locales, anyway--and while I haven't had a chance yet to really go through this document, it appears to be comparatively straightforward. If you are a user of Google services, be sure to read the new policy. And then configure your Google Account appropriately.
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