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Google introduces privacy changes (cue the backlash)

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Reuters

(Read caption) Google is taking flak for a change to its privacy profile. Here, some loaner bikes at the Google campus in California.

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On March 1, Google will introduce a new, streamlined terms of service and privacy policy, which takes approximately 60 separate policies for various Google products, and rolls them into a single "much more readable" document. The move comes as Google seeks to expand Search Plus Your World – an initiative that mixes Google+ posts and personal photos with more traditional search results. 

"The main change is for users with Google Accounts," Google's Alma Whitten wrote in a post on the company blog yesterday. "Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience."

But as Cecilia Kang notes over at the Washington Post, the new policies have critics worried – not least because the new policies will not come with an opt-out provision. A user signing up for Gmail, might not know the "content of his or her messages could affect the experience on seemingly unrelated Web sites such as YouTube," Kang writes

And plenty of lawmakers agree. 

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