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Have you heard? Google changed its privacy policy and terms of service this week.
According the Matt Roseoff of Business Insider it means that:

"Basically, instead of collecting information on Gmail and YouTube and Google+ and storing them in different silos, Google is now acting like a single Internet service. It's doing this to make its products better -- it can suggest search results based on what it knows you like, for instance. It can also help advertisers serve more accurate ads."

Apparently some people are really upset by this, while Roseoff takes the news in stride. In the article entitled "The Panic Over Google's New Privacy Rules Is Ridiculous" he says, "These new privacy policies are exactly what you'd expect from an integrated portal."

Facebook recently made similar changes intended to better "customize" a users experience

In recent months when Facebook took new measures to make user streams more customized, I was really turned off by the results. My stream filled up with stories that may have received lots of comments among my Facebook friends and friends of friends, but the posts weren't necessarily items I found interesting. Meanwhile, I was rarely seeing posts by good friends and some of the businesses and orgs I'm genuinely interested in.

As much as I like the people in my larger Facebook community, my stream started to fill up with useless and distracting information like the celebrity news one is bombarded with at the grocery checkout counter. Initially I tried to fix this by indicating many Facebook friends as "acquaintances" (because that's what they really are), this had good results. I then made the mistake of identifying my close friends as close friends and as a result started receiving alerts about every one of their posts. It felt like I was stalking them - and yes while they are close friends I don't need that much information, after all, we have relationships off Facebook. I solved that problem by indicating no “close friends” so now I have and handful of identified "friends" and a lot of identified "acquaintances." I'm seeing org and business news again.

How to keep Google at a distance:

As for the google changes, Roseoff goes on to suggest two ways you can limit what google knows about you (and therefor how much it customizes the information it feeds you):
  • Sign out of Gmail (or any other Google service) when you're done using it.
  • Set your browser up to clear cookies every time you close it.

For the complete article by Matt Roseoff

Direct link to the new Google policy

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