Google has updated its terms of service, with the aim of making it much clearer for the user to understand.
They are attempting to make sure people know exactly what they're signing up for when they use its online services — though that will still mean reading a lengthy document, as they have increased its content by two thousand words.
This change was prompted by Britain’s exit from the EU, and may have also been influenced by the fact they have been taken to court by the EU twice in the recent past. It has had some people speculating a dramatic change in how people’s data will be handled. However this is simply not true, and the actual knock-on effect is far less than you might think.
What have Google done?
In general terms, all Google have done is updated their terms of service document. In response of Brexit, they have also announced it is switching the service provider for U.K. customers from one based in Ireland to its main U.S. provider. Google LCC will now be the service provider and the data controller responsible for your information and for complying with applicable privacy laws for UK consumer users.
“We’ve updated our Terms of Service to make them easier for people around the world to read and understand — with clearer language, improved organisation, and greater transparency about changes we make to our services and products. We’re not changing the way our products work, or how we collect or process data,” Google spokesperson Shannon Newberry said in a statement.
The Guardian reported Google intends to require its British users to acknowledge new terms of service including the new jurisdiction. Nonetheless, Google are adamant that your data will still be handled as it always has been.
“Like many companies, we have to prepare for Brexit,” Google said. “Nothing about our services or our approach to privacy will change, including how we collect or process data, and how we respond to law enforcement demands for users’ information. The protections of the U.K. GDPR will still apply to these users.”
What you need to do?
Google will have sent you an email explaining how they are improving their terms and conditions and making them easier for you to understand.
The changes will take effect on March 31st, 2020, so you need to have read and accepted their new terms by then. Overall, it appears that this update from Google is a strategic business decision made in response to a number of factors over the past few years, and will in no way affect how you, the end user, use their products and services.