Google To Update, Shorten And De-Jargon Privacy Policies – Here's What's Changing

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Mike Yang, Google’s Associate General Counsel, just published a post on the Google blog, informing users that the company is making its privacy policies shorter and easier to understand for non-lawyers. They are also making some other changes, but to be clear, the Mountain View company isn’t altering its privacy practices as such.

The updates will go into effect October 3, which is 30 days from now.

Until that time, all products and services will continue to be governed by the current version of the privacy policies and Google will update people on the changes via the Google Privacy Center and a notice the company will be putting up on the Google Account sign-in page, enabling people to learn about the changes when they sign into Gmail, Docs, Talk or Calendar.

There’s now also a dedicated page in the Privacy Center where users can find the most popular privacy tools, and some of Google’s product Help Centers will get more content over time.

So what else is changing?

Most Google products and services are governed by the main Google Privacy Policy, which was last updated in March 2009. However, Google writes, a number of its products also have individual privacy policies in addition.

The company will be getting rid of twelve of these product-specific policies to reduce unnecessary redundancies and/or to better reflect how the products work together. These twelve products will continue to be governed by the main Google Privacy Policy.

They are: 3D Warehouse, App Engine, Calendar, Docs, Firefox Extensions, G1, Gmail, Feedback, iGoogle, Maps, Talk and Tasks.

The main Google Privacy Policy will also be made more user-friendly.

Google says it is trimming redundancies and updating some of the legal language to make it more clear to users. For example, Google will be deleting a sentence that reads, “The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,” because they realized it’s kind of obvious that non-Google sites aren’t covered by Google’s privacy policies.

You can see a preview of the updated policy that will take effect on October 3, 2010. But even better is going to this page, where all the changes are indicated more clearly.

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