Google on Friday said
that it has simplified its privacy policies in an effort to make them easier to understand and to operate with greater transparency.
Whether anyone will notice remains to be seen. Most Internet users do not read online privacy policies because they're "long, complicated and lawyerly," as Google associate general counsel Mike Yang concedes in a blog post. But the thought counts for something.
The second involves editing, specifically rewriting legalese in clear, readable prose, and omitting the obvious, like statements advising users that sites not owned by Google have their own privacy polices.
In conjunction with this new push for clarity, Google is expanding privacy articles in its Help Center.
The company has also created a new privacy tools page that assembles links to Google's various privacy tools in one place.
Also on Friday, Google settled a privacy lawsuit filed in April over the February launch of Google Buzz, a social networking service that created controversy for exposing users' e-mail contacts.
The settlement recognizes changes to Buzz that Google made in response to the initial controversy as a good faith effort to address complaints. It also "...requires that Google undertake wider public education about the privacy aspects of Buzz" and "...provides for the creation of an $8.5 million Settlement Fund."
After deducting legal fees, the balance will be paid to various Internet privacy groups.