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Google Revises Privacy Policies

September 4, 2010

After a cartoon video featuring Google’s chief giving away ice cream to snoop on children aired on a giant screen in Times Square, the Internet search giant updated its privacy policy.

“We’re simplifying and updating Google’s privacy policies,” Mike Yang, associate general counsel of Google, said Friday in a blog. “To be clear, we aren’t changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable,” he said.

Google made its privacy policy more comprehensible, “cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits” so people can easily understand them, according to the attorney.

Google put more information into its product help pages to make it easier to find and added a new privacy-tools page to the online Privacy Center, said Yang.

The announcement came the day after a consumer rights group had a “Don’t be evil?” animated ad shown a giant screen above thousands of people moving through Manhattan’s Times Square.

A cartoon version of Google CEO Eric Schmidt was shown cruising through residential neighborhoods in an ice cream truck, spying on kids and disclosing their parents’ online browsing habits.

In response to an AFP inquiry regarding the video, Google said: “We like ice cream as much as anyone, but we like privacy even more.”

Google provides a number of tools for users to control their online privacy, such as Google Dashboard, Ads Preference Manager, Chrome incognito mode and “Ëœoff the record’ Gmail chat, the company said.

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