In an attempt at clarity, Google has amended its terms of service to say that it analyzes private data, including emails, for purposes including the delivery of ads and customized search results. The changes to its terms of service, announced this week, come as Internet users continue to grapple with how and why companies handle their data. In one recent high-profile example, Microsoft faced a backlash following reports that it had actually read someone’s Hotmail emails, under a policy that has since been changed.
Google Inc. (GOOG) is updating its terms of service to more clearly show how the company can analyze user content to tailor features and personalize advertising, as it looks to leverage customer data to bolster its business. The new terms add a paragraph that says Google’s analysis can affect user content that is sent, received and when it is stored, the company said on its website today. The guidelines are set to go into effect on April 14. “We want our policies to be simple and easy for users to understand,” Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, wrote in an e-mailed statement. “Today’s changes will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last few months.”