UPDATE: While not related directly to the matter of Policy Changes at Google, this article from the Wall Street Journal, in which Google was documented to have side stepped Apple’s user privacy settings, may make me rethink the whole idea of Google not having bad intensions in their coming policy changes.
Google recently announced changes to the Privacy Polices across all of Google’s services. I think the most interesting part is how they are moving to improve the end user experience…to make that simpler and more uniform. It may be there are few “gotchas”buried in there, but the primary goal is good
Essentially they are making one policy to rule them all. Simple. To the point. For all Google services.
That’s not what this post is really about.
What I want to focus on is the positive outcome
One policy, one Google experience.
What they profess to want to do with these changes is to bring some clarity across all of their services. The end result would be to improve the look and feel of the user interface, but also the reach of the user experience.
It is the last part that has many people concerned.
Face it, the truth is that Google has mountains of data about you (unless you are the very few who have never been on the Internet at all). They put together this data mostly so they can present you advertisements that are of most interest to you (and which will, obviously, bring them the most revenue).
Google’s intentions are highlighted in this document Policies and Principles. They are clear in saying that they are collecting all of your Google related services in a single experience.
What you will notice immediately is that the look will begin to look uniform across their products. It will become a more polished experience. And you will find their different services interacting more seemlessly with you, making it easier to use all of them.
Who are the corporate targets who should be concerned?
First, Facebook. Google+ is growing in terms of numbers and increasingly seen as a powerful social media platform. It will be integrated right there on your Gmail screen.
Second, Microsoft. Google Docs has improved significantly and will continue to challenge MS Office, especially as Google Calendar and Gmail become more integrated. The look, the feel, and the user experience will improve. Microsoft should be concerned. Their hegemony is breaking up increasingly, and Google’s policy changes will impact MS in no small amount.
Third, and to a lesser extent, Apple. The seamless integration of the user interface and user experience is something that Apple has perfected (if not invented). Google’s purpose is to attract users who stay with them because the experience is easy and familiar in look and feel. Apple has one much larger advantage than Facebook or Microsoft in resisting Google: they make amazing hardware too. Of course, Google has recently purchased Motorola Wireless, which ups their commitment to hardware manufacturing. But the verdict won’t be in for a long time on how successful they will be with making hardware.
In the end, people and groups will complain about Google’s pervasiveness and ubiquitousness (on privacy grounds), but end users will find the changes very appealing.
What about you? What do you think will be the outcome of Google’s “One Policy” move?