March 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM ET
As of Thursday, whatever you do on one Google-owned site will change whatever you see on another Google property – be it Google' search engine, Docs, Maps, Calendar, Gmail, Picassa, YouTube, G+, etc.
"We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day," reads Google's blog explaining the search giant's unified policy. This works whether you're accessing Google on your computer, tablet or cellphone, as long as you're logged in.
"People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out," Google points out.
What the blog posts fails to mention however, is that it is now better equipped to help out law enforcement officials and the government when it comes to finding out about you.
Related: Q&A: Google to dig deeper into users' lives
"The laws governing our digital privacy are woefully inadequate and in some cases incredibly invasive, allowing for police access to our data even if they have no evidence that we've done anything wrong," notes the American Civil Liberties Union's Privacy SOS blog.
For some time now, Google's been able to connect your phone with your phone number and carrier, identify your computer model and OS (right down to the serial number), collect your IP address (traceable to your real-life address), and save what you've searched for.
Here, as the ACLU blog points out, is where just got creepier:
Google is now saying that it has the right to collect all of your call records, including who you call, when, for how long you talk, and SMS routing information. It doesn't say if this applies only to calls made through Google's services or if it is referring to calls you make on your mobile phone. After all, it already told us that it has the right to "associate your device identifiers or phone number with your Google Account," and to "collect device-specific information." Google, are you going to monitor our call logs now? Stay tuned for clarification on this point.
The policy also states that Google will collect your location information, even if you have your GPS turned off. Additionally, it says it will collect cookies data and other information about your devices. No surprise there.
But the policy also states that Google can change your information and show information about you to others without your express consent.
What's more, this info is readily available to the feds should they ask for it, per the National Security Letter provision of the Patriot Act: who you've called, e-mailed, been – this info can even identify the real identity of anonymous posters on, say, political websites. No court order is required, further, the feds can forbid, or "gag" the ISP provider from telling you if or why your info was accessed.
And access Google's growing trove of user info the U.S. government surely does – and as Google's government request page reveals, a whole lot more than other governments:
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