There is no question this type of data collection would create an incredibly large and valuable cache of information. Google reps insist it will largely impact only users with Google Accounts and is designed to make their Web experiences more streamlined and intuitive. And, for those with no concerns about data sharing the new changes will undoubtedly create a more dynamic, personalized Internet interface.
Many critics and Congress, however, disagree on the issue of the policy’s transparency and motive. The U.S. government has increased its scrutiny of the company, alleging that the new policy does not make it clear enough to users how to opt out of data collection, or how their search actions are being tracked.
The European Union (E.U.) went one step further, asking Google to delay the rollout of its changes so that it may ensure the policy comports with E.U. data collection and privacy laws. Google dismissed the request, noting that any delay would require costly reorganization of its schedule and confuse the majority of users who are already prepared for the switch.
A less publicized but far more important issue regarding Google’s new policy is contained in the “Information Sharing” portion that outlines the company’s position regarding providing information to government entities that request it. Essentially, the policy states that Google will not require a warrant if it deems the release of information “reasonably necessary” to satisfy an “enforceable government request.”
Privacy advocates argue that the wording does not convey what should be a very strict prohibition against sharing personal information in this manner. This and other concerns have prompted many to call for a boycott of the search engine, and instead use an alternate search tool like Bing, DuckDuckGo or Blekko.