Internet Law

Google Plans to Combine User Data for All Products; Individuals Won't Be Able to Opt Out

In a move likely to invite scrutiny of Google’s practices for potential antitrust and privacy law violations, the search-engine giant today announced that it soon begin combining into a single cauldron for each individual user the data the company compiles concerning users’ activities on all of its platforms.

Individuals will not be permitted to opt out.

This means, as of March 1, that information from users’ activities on Android phones, email and Google’s search engine and websites will be combined to create targeted advertising and reminders for each user, the Washington Post reports.

Google is billing the change as a convenience to users. “If you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” wrote Alma Whitten in a blog post. She is the company’s director of privacy, product and engineering. “In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

Related coverage:

Associated Press: “Facebook forces users to switch to Timeline, making their pasts more visible”

Updated at 6:50 p.m. to line to Associated Press article.

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