Omri Ben-Shahar on Google's New Privacy Policy

Google Is Polishing The Most Important Consumer Contract Ever

Google’s “Privacy Policy” is donning new snazzy attire. This is the document linked on Google’s home page, declaring what information Google collects about its users. This week, every Google user on this planet is receiving an email notice that the policy is being updated, “to make it easier” for people to know what information Google is taking and for what purpose. Facebook and Apple will soon join Google and trumpet their own spruced up privacy policies, inviting users to “take control.”

But will anybody care?

Google’s Privacy Policy is the most important consumer contract ever because it is the resource for its $100 billion annual revenue. Without it, Google would be prohibited by law from collecting much of the personal information it currently harvests. Once posted, the Privacy Policy is a contract in which users are giving “informed consent” to collection of their personal data. Google then scoops users’ search histories, purchase activities, geo-locations, email content, friends’ information, videos watched—and much more. Google uses this data to tailor personalized ads, from which most of its revenue comes.

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