A new warning for consumers: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) at your own risk.
When the full policy goes into effect on March 1, user information for most Google products will be treated as a single group of data. The company can then use that information across all of its products to sell targeted ads.
Wired New York Bureau Chief, John Abell, has a warning for consumers:
“Never put information in someone else’s hands that you don’t want to be shared. Don’t put something on a company website which you would be afraid if it were stolen.”
The move is controversial because it could raise red flags for anti-trust regulators.
Google also points out that there are benefits to consumers.
For example a person can search for a restaurant using Google’s search engine. Google will then use Google+ social network to incorporate comments and photos from friends.
Abell believes Google has enough at stake that it will be careful not to upset its users:
“Google needs to have your trust with all the things that they already know about you so if they were to screw up and do things with your data that you did not like, it would be a terrible blow to their entire business model which is based on that trust.”
And to be clear: The data Google is collecting isn’t new, it’s just being grouped together – a seemingly simple nuance with implications still unknown.