January 30, 2012 10:16 am

5 things you need to know about changes to Google’s new privacy policy

TORONTO
– Google’s contentious new privacy policy officially takes effect Thursday,
despite some objections from Canada’s privacy commissioner and others around the
world.

According
to the web giant, the new
privacy setting
gathers and compiles data about users based on their
activity on various Google products and services-including Gmail, YouTube and
the Google search page. 

Google
insists it had users in mind when it consolidated the privacy policies for most
of its more than 70 products and streamlined the text. The amendments will
remove some of the legal hurdles Google Inc. faces in trying to link
information across services from Gmail to YouTube to the Google Plus social
network that replaced Buzz.

 As the changes take effect on
March 1, here are five things you need to know about Google’s new privacy policies.
 

  • More relevant and refined search results. Google says the new system gives users more relevant search
    results and information, while helping advertisers find customers -
    especially on mobile devices. For example, if you spend an hour on Google
    searching the web for skateboards, the next time you log into YouTube, you
    might get recommendations for videos featuring Tony Hawk, along with ads
    for his merchandise and the nearest place to buy them. Your information,
    however, will be stored in one place
  • Your information can be shared between
    Google’s services.
    As mentioned above, users may
    begin to see advertisements in Google+ based on videos they watched on
    YouTube.

  • Your private information remains private. Google says that they won’t share users’ personal
    information without their permission, except in very rare circumstances
    like a valid court order. Google will not sell users’ personal information
    to third parties.
  • You still have choice and control. In a
    recent public blog post
    , policy manager Betsy Masiello says
    that users do not need to be logged into their account to use many of Google’s
    services, like Google Maps and YouTube.
  • Google’s privacy principles remain
    unchanged.
    According to Google, privacy
    principles will stay the same. Google says the new privacy changes aim to
    provide as much transparency and as much choice as possible, through
    products like Google Dashboard and Ads Preference Manager and other tools.

  • Story continues below

Can I opt-out
of Google’s new privacy plan?
                                                                                                                                                      

While users
cannot opt out of the new policy if they want to continue using Google’s
services, you can take some side-steps. Read them below.

  1. Sign out of
    Gmail, Google+ or YouTube before you search:
    While Google may still be able to
    collect data if you’re logged out, it can only be by the computer’s IP
    address-and not your individual account.
  2. Use a different
    search engine
    : Use a
    search engine that has a no-tracking policy.
  3. Clear your web
    browser history (cache) to remove items such as tracking cookies. Details
    on how to remove your search history from Google and YouTube can be seen
    below.
     

How to remove your search history: 

  1. Log in to your Google account.
  2. On the right-hand side of the
    page, click the icon that shows your avatar. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Click on “Account Setting”
  4. Scroll down to the ‘Services’
    subsection. Click on ‘Go to web history.’
  5. Click the “Remove all web
    history” button
  6. A prompt will appear, asking you
    “Are you sure you want to clear your entire web history? Your web history
    will also be paused.” Click “OK.”
  7. To remove your YouTube browsing
    history, follow the steps below.

How to remove your YouTube search history: 

  1. Click on the YouTube toolbar,
    located near the top in your Gmail account.
  2. On the right-hand side,
    click your user name. A drop-down menu will appear, select “Video
    manager.”
  3. On the left-hand side,
    select “History.”
  4. A list of your previous searches
    should appear. Select “Clear all viewing history.”
  5. A prompt will appear, asking you
    “Are you sure you want to clear your entire viewing history? There is no
    undo.” Click “Clear all viewing history.”
  6. Refresh your page.
  7. Now click on the “Pause viewing
    history” button.
  8. On the left-hand side, click
    “Search History.” Select “Clear all search history.”
  9. Once again, a prompt will appear,
    asking you “Are you sure you want to clear your entire search history?
    There is no undo.” Click “Clear all search history.”
  10. Once again, refresh your page.
  11. Click on the “Pause search
    history” button.

- With files from The Canadian Press

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