Funny that with all the attention directed to the Facebook IPO lately, so few commentators have made this observation.
It's a good idea that has, understandably, creeped users out. The reality and the perception of privacy are miles apart in the mind of the public and notoriously difficult to change.
This move does make enormous sense for Google on three primary levels.
- Google's stated reason for making a major change. It doesn't make sense to have 70 different privacy policies. It does make sense to consolidate, and to simplify language. That's good UX.
- Google needs a 360 degree view of the customer now more than ever. Why? Because Facebook's already got it. Or is at least a lot closer to having it than Google is if all Google's information is separately warehoused. Facebook is currently better positioned than Google to "know" what videos you're watching on YouTube (which Google owns!), and tie that data with what you're reading in "The Wall Street Journal" or "The Washington Post," or posting on Pinterest. With Facebook about to go public, Google needs to change that equation, and change it fast.
Privacy image: www.epic.org