Privacy, simplified: Google´s shorter, sweeter policies blaze a trail for other companies

01/30/2012 -by:Silvina Moschini , CEO & Founder, Intuic | The Social Media Agency

A seamless user experience starts with straightforward information regarding shared and private data.

With the recent announcement of changes to its privacy policies, Google is scoring a win-win for itself and its users. The new policy document, vastly shortened and in plain speech rather than legalese, is all part of the company’s strategy to create a seamless personal user experience that makes us relate to Google less as a search engine, and more as a trusted personal assistant. The company is banking on attracting more existing users to its newer services by eliminating a minor but probably still significant obstacle. Their theory: Having to agree only once to a privacy policy that grants access to virtually all Google services means users will more readily try out new Google products they may not have used before.

The announced changes mean that users will not have to face an annoying pop-up window asking for Terms of Use and Privacy Policies agreement every time they start using a new Google service. Without that discouragement, more Gmail users will start using and sharing on Google Calendar, Chat, Photos, or Documents. They will start relying more on Google’s location services to tell them where to eat or shop, or how to find the fastest route to their meeting – about which they’ve already been alerted by their Google Calendar. Each new service will already know their language and the spelling of their contact names, enhancing the user experience still further. Google will even bring search to a personal level by highlighting information specifically relevant to that user – for instance, material users and their contacts have already shared on Google+. This is as close to having a personal assistant as most people will ever get.

Google deserves credit for this move, which makes smart business sense for them but also for Google users. It makes using every Google service less intrusive and more convenient. And the new policies themselves are an improvement in terms of readable length, simplified language, transparency, and straightforward promises of privacy protection. Compared to the recent troubles Facebook has had with their own privacy policies, Google is raising the bar for all its competitors.