Google adds privacy link, avoids trouble

On Google's main page, one of the few places on the Internet where a dearth of content is beneficial, it's easy to notice when a single word changes, especially when it's one as hot as "privacy."

Where it once said "©2008 Google" at the bottom of the page, it now says "©2008 - Privacy." The change was announced on Thursday before the Independence day holiday as a word-for-word identical passage in blogs by Marissa Mayer Search Products and User Experience Vice President and Pablo Chavez, Senior Policy Council.

"So, today we're making a homepage change by adding a link to our privacy overview and policies. Google values our users' privacy first and foremost. Trust is the basis of everything we do, so we want you to be familiar and comfortable with the integrity and care we give your personal data. We added this link both to our homepage and to our results page to make it easier for you to find information about our privacy principles. The new "Privacy" link goes to our Privacy Center, which was revamped earlier this year to be more straightforward and approachable, with videos and a non-legalese overview to make sure you understand in basic terms what Google does, does not, will, and won't, do in regard to your personal information."

The change appears to have been motivated by recent reports and subsequent advocacy concerns of Google's adherence to the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003, which requires commercial Web sites that collect user data to conspicuously post their privacy policy on their first "significant" page.

On June 3, following a New York Times report on the subject by Saul Hansell, several privacy groups contacted Google, demanding the privacy policy be shown as per the California law.

The change also occurred conspicuously closely to today's Senate Commerce Committee hearings regarding "Privacy Implications of Online Advertising."

On the "privacy center" page, it provides links to all the privacy sub-policies, including YouTube, iGoogle, Orkut, Goog-411, as well as AdSense, AdWords, and Google Analytics.

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