- How does Google protect user privacy?
- Why does Google store search engine logs data?
- Why are logs kept before being anonymized?
- How can I remove information about myself from Google’s search results?
- What happens when different privacy laws in different countries conflict?
- I have targeted ads on Gmail – is someone actually looking at what I write to match the ads with my emails?
- Where does Google get the images in Google Earth and how does it protect my privacy?
- Street View captures images of people on the street? Is that legal?
- Is privacy possible on social networking sites, like Orkut?
- How does Google Health protect the privacy of users’ health information?
- How can I contact Google if I have a privacy question or complaint?
How does Google protect user privacy?
At Google, we are keenly aware of the trust our users place in us, and our responsibility to protect their privacy. We believe transparency and choice are the foundations of privacy. We strive to let users know what information we collect when they use our products and services, and give users meaningful choices about what information they provide to Google and to others.
Why does Google store search engine logs data?
We store this data for a number of reasons, the most important of which are to improve our search results and to maintain the security of our systems. Analyzing logs data is an important tool in helping our engineers refine search quality and build helpful new services. Take the example of Google Spell Checker. Google’s spell checking software automatically looks at a user’s query and checks to see if that user is using the most common version of the word’s spelling. If we calculate that a user is likely to get more relevant search results with an alternative spelling, we’ll ask “Did you mean: (more common spelling)?” In order to provide this service, we study the data in our logs. Logs data also helps us improve our search results. If we know that users are clicking on the #1 result, we know we’re probably doing something right, and if they’re hitting next page or reformulating their query, we’re probably doing something wrong. In addition, logs data helps us prevent against fraud and other abuses, like phishing, scripting attacks, and spam, including query click spam and ads click spam.
Why are logs kept before being anonymized?
We strike a reasonable balance between the competing pressures we face, such as the privacy of our users, the security of our systems and the need for innovation. We believe anonymizing IP addresses after 9 months and cookies after 18 months strikes the right balance.
How can I remove information about myself from Google’s search results?
Like all search engines, Google is a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. Search engines do not have the ability to remove content directly from the Internet, so removing content from Google or another search engine would still leave the original content that exists on the Web. The best thing for users who want content removed from the Internet to do is contact the webmaster of the page or the Internet hosting companies hosting the content to find out their content removal policies. Once content has been removed from a website where it appeared and Google’s search engine crawl has visited the page again, the information will no longer appear in Google’s search results. We do offer tools to help users with urgent removal requests.
What happens when different privacy laws in different countries conflict?
Our privacy policies are drafted to comply with the privacy laws in all the countries where we do business.
I have targeted ads on Gmail – is someone actually looking at what I write to match the ads with my emails?
Like most email services, Gmail uses software to scan emails for viruses and to filter out spam. Google uses this same kind of software to scan for keywords in users’ emails which we can then use to match ads. When a user opens an email message, computers scan the text and then instantaneously display relevant information that is matched to the text of the message. Once the message is closed, ads are no longer displayed. The whole process is automated and involves no humans.
Where does Google get the images in Google Earth and how does it protect my privacy?
Google Earth uses satellite and aerial imagery to provide users with views of locations around the globe. Google licenses or purchases this imagery from government and private sector providers that make this imagery available commercially. In addition, anyone who flies above or drives by a piece of property will see similar images. The resolution of this imagery does not typically permit the identification of individuals, and the images are not real-time, so they do not capture current activities. There are different laws in different countries about what imagery can and cannot be commercially distributed or published and we respect those laws. Where buildings are blurred on Google Earth – for example the Royal Palace in the Netherlands – this is done by the supplier that provided the images to Google.
Street View captures images of people on the street? Is that legal?
Street View only features imagery taken in public locations. This imagery is no different from what any person can readily capture or see walking down the street. While Street View enables people to easily find, discover, and plan activities relevant to a location, we respect the fact that people may not want imagery they feel is objectionable featured on the service. We recently incorporated face-blurring into Street View using state-of-the-art technology. We also provide easily accessible tools for flagging inappropriate or sensitive imagery for blurring or removal. Each Street View imagery bubble contains a link to “Street View Help” where users can report objectionable images. We routinely review these takedown requests and act quickly to remove objectionable imagery.
Is privacy possible on social networking sites, like Orkut?
Orkut provides robust sharing controls that allow users to restrict who can view their profile and other information they choose to post. When users create an orkut profile, there is a “golden key” icon that allows users to choose who can view their profile – whether it be friends, family members, friends of friends, or the entire orkut community. Users can change their sharing settings and edit information in their profile at any time.
How does Google Health protect the privacy of users’ health information?
How can I contact Google if I have a privacy question or complaint?
People can also write to:Privacy Mattersc/o Google Inc.1600 Amphitheatre ParkwayMountain View, California, 94043USA©2009 Google – About Google – Feedback