Google, You Can Eat My Cookies Anytime

Google has just released a lengthy blog post to announce that it has finally put its privacy policy on its homepage. The search giant has been repeatedly questioned over the last few months over its lack of a readily available privacy policy, which until now has been buried in the “About Google” section of the site. The explanation has always been vague (and ridiculous), with Google repeatedly appealing to its desire to keep the home page as pristine as possible.

Google hasn’t said why it finally gave in, but it’s likely that it has been facing pressure from the government to make the privacy policy more available – a post by Saul Hansell points out that the lack of a visible policy may have actually been illegal under California law.

The announcement was accompanied by a lighthearted description of Google’s “homepage weight” – the number of words visible on the page at one time. Apparently the magic number is 28 words, and the company was forced to drop a word from its copyright disclaimer in order to make room for the new link.

It’s an interesting little story, but the tone of it is sort of strange. Privacy is a big deal at Google, so why the levity? We’ve had some recent concerns over where Google is getting its website usage data from, nevermind the fact that it may soon hand over all YouTube user data by court order. It would be nice if they were a little more forthcoming, even if it’s at the cost of a whimsical story.

Despite these concerns, we should give Google some credit for a hosting a pretty comprehensive privacy portal (even if it was difficult to find before). Here’s their captivating introduction to cookies: