Under the new policy Google will share the information it has about users between all its services. That means that YouTube might offer you video content based on the content of your emails, or that a term you use in Google Docs will appear higher in your search results.
Google is not offering users the option of opting out of the information sharing, and privacy advocates in the US and Europe have blasted the new policy, largely on the grounds that Google’s users became reliant on the services when they operated under separate privacy policies.
Millions of users are unable to ditch Google since they have mobile phone contracts for devices that run Android, Google’s operating system.
The French regulatory authority earlier this week said that the new policy was a violation of the European Union’s data protection rules, while in the US 36 attorneys general have criticized the changes as an invasion of privacy.
“It’s really about spying on you and building those digital dossiers,” said John Simpson, the director of the organization’s Privacy Project. “Remember you’re not Google’s customer; you’re Google’s product.