This Stuff Matters: Google's New Privacy Policy (with a few edits)

Darrell, Staff Writer

Note: The following is Google's new privacy policy. When we removed text, it looks like this. New text looks like this.

This Privacy Policy will be effective March 1, 2012, and will replace the existing Privacy Policy. Please see our overview page for additional details.

Last modified: March 1, 2012 (view archived versions)

There are many different ways you can use our services – to search for and share information, to communicate with other people or to create new content. When you share information with us, for example by creating a Google Account, we can make those services even better – to show you more relevant search results and ads, to help you connect with people or to make sharing with others quicker and easier. As you use our services, we want you to be clear how we’re using information and the ways in which you can protect your privacy.

Our Privacy Policy explains:

  • What information we collect and why we collect it.

  • How we use that information.

  • The choices we offer, including how to access and update information.

We’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible, but if you’re not familiar with terms like cookies, IP addresses, pixel tags and browsers, then read about these key terms first. Your privacy matters to Google so whether you are new to Google or a long-time user, please do take the time to get to know our practices – and if you have any questions contact us.

If you use the internet, you use one of Google’s services. If you use one of our services, we have a good deal of your personal information. We have changed our Privacy Policy in order to consolidate all that information across all our services. Please read below to learn about the information we collect, how we use it, and what you need to know about it.

Information we collect

We collect information to provide better services to all of our users – from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful or the people who matter most to you online.

We collect information in two ways:

  • Information you give us. For example, many of our services require you to sign up for a Google Account. When you do, we’ll ask for personal information, like your name, email address, telephone number or credit card. If you want to take full advantage of the sharing features we offer, we might also ask you to create a publicly visible Google Profile, which may include your name and photo.

This part’s obvious – user names, passwords, addresses, searches… basically anything you type into a box.

  • Information we get from your use of our services. you don’t realize you give us. We may collect information about the services that you use and how you use them, like when you visit a website that uses our advertising services or you view and interact with our ads and content. We will definitely collect information about every single service you use. This information includes:

    • Device information.

We may collect device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number) will totally find out everything about the computer, tablet, or mobile device you have ever used. Google may will definitely associate your device identifiers or phone number with your Google Account.

Log information

When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we maywill most definitely automatically collect and storecertain informationas much information as we can musterin server logs. Thismaywill absolutely include:

      • details of how you used our service, such as your search queries how often you emailed your mother last month or whether you searched for naked photos illegally hacked from celebrities’ cell phones

      • telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls how many times you’ve dropped your cell phone on concrete, how often you curse during conversations, and whether you say certain "key words" indicating requests for weapons or illegal drugs

      • Internet protocol address which might not mean anything to you, but is really all we need to track your every online movement

      • device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL. bookmarks, how many concurrent games of Words with Friends you’re playing, and whether you bother to close apps on your mobile device

      • cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account, which again, aren’t NECESSARY to identify you uniquely, but they make it easier for us to compile your habits and use the information to understand you better – from sleep patterns to movie-piracy behavior

    • Location information

When you use a location-enabled Google service, we may will totally collect and process information about your actual location, like GPS signals sent by a mobile device. We may also use various technologies to determine location, such as sensor data from your device that may, for example, provide information on nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. so that we know who uses our services while on the toilet and how often.

Unique application numbers

Certain services includePretty much every service includes a unique application number. This number and information about your installation(for example, the operating system type and application version number) may will at least twice be sent to Google when you install or uninstall that service or when that service periodically contacts our servers, such as for automatic updates decides to without your knowledge.

Local storage

We may Mark it down, son, we are going to collect and store information (including personal information) locally on your device using mechanisms such as browser web storage (including HTML5) and application data caches. We may also choose to store other people’s personal information on your device in an effort to help lighten our server load. Should you come across such information, we ask that you keep it to yourself.

Cookies and anonymous identifiers

We use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit a Google service, and this may include sending one or morecookiesoranonymous identifiers to your device. We also use cookies and anonymous identifiers when you interact with services we offer to our partners, such as advertising services or Google features that may appear on other sites.We already established that we have many ways to track you; this part explicitly mentions cookies and anonymous identifiers as two more.

How we use information we collect

We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads. figure out how best to make money off you. This usually manifests simply in the form of relevant ads, but if times get tough, we are not above resorting to blackmail.

We may There is no doubt that we will use the name you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email, or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo. Logging into one service allows all other services to have your information and trade it freely among them. This makes it easy for us to put publicly accessible markers on Google Earth indicating the names, locations, and YouTube viewing habits of our every user.

When you contact Google, we may keep a record of your communication to help solve any issues you might be facing. We may use your email address to inform you about our services, such as letting you know about upcoming changes or improvements. will keep a record of every bit of communication in case we need to hold it against you some day. We use information collected from cookies and other technologies, like pixel tags, to improve your user experience and the overall quality of our services. For example, by saving your language preferences, we’ll be able to have our services appear in the language you prefer.if your activity indicates that you like sports, we will bombard you with ads for ticket dealers and merchandise.When showing you tailored ads, we will not associate a cookie or anonymous identifier with sensitive categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation or health. ticklishness, birthmarks, or baldness.

We may have and will continue to combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example to make it easier to share things with people you know.let your Google+ friends know how much time you spend shopping online for sex toys. We will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent. we make a "mistake".

We will ask for your consent before using information for a purpose other than those that are set out in this Privacy Policy. If there is a means to use your information that is somehow not covered in this Privacy Policy, we will ask for your consent. Should your consent be necessary, we will be very surprised.

Google processes personal information on our servers in many countries around the world. We may process your personal information on a server located outside the country where you live. has servers all over the world. Your information is already stored on every continent, including Antarctica. We are at the forefront of a true global order, so there’s no sense making a fuss about which nations have access to your information – they all do.

Transparency and choice

People have different privacy concerns. Our goal is to be clear about what information we collect (i.e., everything), so that you can make meaningful choices about how it is used. For example, you can we’ve made it possible for you to

  • Feel as if you can actually review and control certain types of information tied to your Google Account by using Google Dashboard.

  • View and edit your ads preferences, such as which categories might interest you, using the Ads Preferences Manager. You can also opt out of certain Google advertising services here. because we know you care about the quality and content of the ads you ignore.

  • Use our editor to see and adjust how your Google Profile appears to particular individuals. people who aren’t us.

  • Pretend to control who you share information with.

  • Take information out of many a small handful of our services.

You may also set your browser to block all cookies, including cookies associated with our services, or to indicate when a cookie is being set by us. However, it’s important to remember that many of our services may not function properly if your cookies are disabled. For example, we may not remember your language preferences.but we’ve made it so that if you do, nothing will work right.

Information you share.

Many of our services let you share information with others. Remember that when you share information publicly, it may be indexable by search engines, including Google. Our services provide you with different options on sharing and removing your content.You have a small amount of control of the information you knowingly share on our services. The following are the few options you have in this regard.

Accessing and updating your personal information

Whenever you use our services, we aim to provide you with access to your personal information. If that information is wrong, we strive to give you ways to update it quickly or to delete it – unless we have to keep that information for legitimate business or legal purposes. When updating your personal information, we may ask you to verify your identity before we can act on your request. At any time you may update or change your personal information, unless it results in limiting the amount of information available to every other user. For example, if you wish to change your password or correct the spelling of your name, you can do so after verifying your identity. If you wish to remove a tag of your house labeled as "Whoreville" that a vindictive ex-boyfriend placed on Google Maps, you must provide concrete evidence that the location is a private residence and not a legally run brothel.

We maywill absolutely reject requests that are unreasonably repetitive, require disproportionate technical effort (for example, developing a new system or fundamentally changing an existing practice anything that forces us to stay in the office past 5PM local time), risk the privacy of others, or would be extremely impractical (for instance, requests concerning information residing on backup tapes).our shareholders.

Where we can provide information access and correction, we will do so for free, except where it would require a disproportionate effort.when a request annoys us. We aim to maintain our services in a manner that protects information from accidental or malicious destruction. Because of this, after you delete information from our services, we may not immediately delete residual copies from our active servers and may not remove information from our backup systems. our backup system ensures that none of your information will be completely deleted, ever.

Information we share

We do not share personal information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Google unless one of the following circumstances apply:

  • With your consent

We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.

  • With domain administrators

If your Google Account is managed for you by a domain administrator(for example, for Google Apps users) then your domain administrator and resellers who provide user support to your organization will have access to your Google Account information (including your email and other data). Your domain administrator may be able to:

    • view statistics regarding your account, like statistics regarding applications you install.

    • change your account password.

    • suspend or terminate your account access.

    • access or retain information stored as part of your account.

    • receive your account information in order to satisfy applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.

    • restrict your ability to delete or edit information or privacy settings.

Please refer to your domain administrator’s privacy policy for more information.

For external processing

We provide personal information to our affiliates or other trusted businesses or persons to process it for us, based on our instructions and in compliance with our Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.

  • With entities we eventually take over

When Google acquires new companies, assets, or governments, Google will share your personal information with every one of the new assets. We’ll send you an email about it when it happens, though, so don’t be nervous.

  • For legal reasons

We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google if we have a good-faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to: If we have a good-faith belief that your information is necessary to help prevent, enforce, or investigate a crime, we will share your personal information with all necessary authorities and every member of your Google+ Circles.

    • meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.

    • enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations.

    • detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.

    • protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, our users or the public as required or permitted by law.

We may share aggregated,non-personally identifiable informationpublicly and with our partners – like publishers, advertisers or connected sites. For example, we may share information publicly to show trends about the general use of our services.

If Google is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, we will continue to ensure the confidentiality of any personal information and give affected users notice before personal information is transferred or becomes subject to a different privacy policy.

Information security

We work hard to protect Google and our users from unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of information we hold.We are as protective of your personal information as you should have been In particular:

  • We encrypt many of our services using SSL.

  • We offer you (an inconvenient and cumbersome) two step verification when you access your Google Account, and (if you share a computer with your spouse or mother) a Safe Browsing feature in Google Chrome.

  • We review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to guard against unauthorized access to systems. We try our best to make sure hackers don’t monkey with things.

    We restrict access to personal information to Google employees, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to process it for us, and who are subject to strict contractual confidentiality obligations and may be disciplined or terminated if they fail to meet these obligations. We will restrict access to your information only to employees who need access to process it. Yes, we are the ones to make that distinction, but they’ve all signed confidentiality agreements under penalty of termination with a generous severance package.


Our Privacy Policy applies to all of the services offered by Google Inc. and its affiliates, including services offered on other sites (such as our advertising services), but excludes services that have separate privacy policies that do not incorporate this Privacy Policy.

This Privacy Policy applies to all Google services and entities that wish to use this Privacy Policy.

Our Privacy Policy does not apply to services offered by other companies or individuals, including products or sites that may be displayed to you in search results, sites that may include Google services, or other sites linked from our services. Our Privacy Policy does not cover the information practices of other companies and organizations who advertise our services, and who may use cookies, pixel tags and other technologies to serve and offer relevant ads.

Our Privacy Policy does not cover sites or services outside the ever-growing purview of Google.


We regularly review our compliance with our Privacy Policy. We also adhere to several self regulatory frameworks. When we receive formal written complaints, we will contact the person who made the complaint to follow up. We work with the appropriate regulatory authorities, including local data protection authorities, to resolve any complaints regarding the transfer of personal data that we cannot resolve with our users directly.

Overall, we do a good job keeping to this Privacy Policy, and we’re more than willing to take complaints and work with regulatory authorities. Just know that we’re the ones chiefly enforcing our own Privacy Policy. Try not to let that bother you.


Our Privacy Policy may change from time to time. We will not reduce your rights under this Privacy Policy without your explicit consent. We will post any privacy policy changes on this page and, if the changes are significant, we will provide a more prominent notice (including, for certain services, email notification of privacy policy changes). We will also keep prior versions of this Privacy Policy in an archive for your review. will change so often you’ll care even less than you do now. If anything changes, we’ll be sure to let you know, but you’ll probably ignore it anyway

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