Google privacy concerns raised over change in user data treatment

(Photo: Flickr/Robert Scoble)

LOS ANGELES (AP/ABC7) - Google is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.

For example, if you spent the last hour logged into Google to search the Web for skateboards, the next time you log into YouTube, there's a good chance you'll get recommendations for videos featuring Tony Hawk.

Still, the changes could irk privacy critics because of the sheer volume of information collected - including your location, list of contacts and the contents of your email. Google is not providing an option to opt-out of sharing this information, either.

The changes take effect March 1, removing some of the legal hurdles that Google faced by having more than 70 different privacy policies across various services.

Now, there will be one main policy covering services such as Google Plus, Gmail, search, YouTube and Maps, with separate ones covering sensitive services such as Google Wallet.