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Google’s changes cause controversy

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On March 1, Google changed its privacy policies to the chagrin of many of its users. The new policy is designed to streamline how you search and use all of Google’s products. This means that personal data collected on one site will be shared among other Google sites, as long as a user is signed in. Logging out of Google will still save some things, anonymously, on the computer being used.The biggest problem many internet critics have is that Google did not do enough to educate the public about the changes. “I didn’t even know they had made a change” said freshman Eric Eggemeyer.Google has a set up a website to explain the changes in the policy and how they help the user search more effectively. In the past, search logs were stored and remembered so next time you type in the same, or similar search, Google could direct you to results you want and leave out irrelevant information. With the policy change, these search results and preferences are now shared between Chrome, Youtube, Gmail, Google+, and Streetview, in addition to Google search engine.

Have you ever noticed when you search for something on Google, you see an ad for that or something similar on another website? When Google saves your search data, it uses that information to filter which adds you see on the internet. That makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Big Brother Watch UK wrote on their website “This change isn’t about Google collecting more data, it’s about letting the company combine what’s in your emails with the videos you watch and the things you search for, and ultimately increase their profits.”

What does this mean for your time on the internet? According to Google, your searches will be more personalized, regardless of whether you are signed in our not. It remembers what you have searched for in the past, what you like and did not like and can even get a general idea of your location. Many feel that it is an invasion of privacy because Google is storing information that users have little control over. “It’s like they’re spying on you” said Eggemeyer.

There is the possibility to erase your user history on your dashboard. Google says that the reason they save your search logs is “… for many purposes, for example, to keep our services secure, develop new features that make search faster and more relevant, and even to predict outbreaks of disease.”

For more information on Google’s privacy changes, visit http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/ .

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