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Is Google Protecting Your Privacy?

Is Google Protecting Your Privacy?

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Critical, confidential information like your customer list is your lifeline in business. You would do everything you can to safeguard it. Yet, in our increasingly social, Web-connected world, keeping your information private goes against Google’s interest in indexing everything for search. After all, 96% of Google’s business is advertising and the Google Apps Service Level Agreement for its business users cites only eight of Google’s online services as “Google Apps Covered Services”.


While Google Apps for Business can turn off ads and has a different privacy protection than some of Google’s other services, business users often find themselves using Google “freeware”. They may use services that are not part of Google Apps, using Google Plus, Gmail Voice or Google Video Chat to reach people, and use Google Cloud Connect to accomplish tasks, while Google collects and shares information about them in the process.

In fact, the “Privacy and Terms” link at the bottom of the Google Apps for Business Web page leads prospective business customers directly to Policies and Principles. Under a Google Plus icon it cites:

Easy to work across Google. Our new policy reflects our desire to create a simple product experience that does what you need, when you want it to. Whether you’re reading an email that reminds you to schedule a family get-together or finding a favorite video that you want to share, we want to ensure you can move across Gmail, Calendar, Search, YouTube, or whatever your life calls for with ease.”

The user experience that the company advocates for Google Apps for Business customers brings them to services such as Google Plus and YouTube, where the company collects information about activities that they can then use to serve ads.

Google can use your content freely.
Why do I say that?  According to ZDNET and Google’s terms of service which also applies to Google Plus:

“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

According to Neowin in “Comparing Skydrive and Google Drive's privacy policy”:

“There is one notable difference, with SkyDrive, Microsoft will only use your content "solely to the extent necessary to provide the service" which means that it is used to maintain the product, not for advertising purposes. When you upload your content to Google, you are giving them access to use your work however they see fit. It should be noted that neither service is claiming ownership of your content. It is a small but notable difference. Google already uses your content in many ways to deliver targeted advertising and Microsoft has a position of letting you decide what to do with your content. Which is best for you? That's a personal decision.”

You Are the Judge for Your Business.
In the news, Google May Face Further U.K. Action After FCC Privacy Report, Bloomberg cites:

"While Street View cars photograph buildings and homes to provide street-level mapping to Google users, they went beyond that to using wireless connections to gather people’s personal communications.”

Is a company which is under scrutiny in two continents for such actions, one you would trust with your business information? 


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