Last modified: May 1, 2015 (view archived versions)
There are many different ways you can use our services – to search for and share information, to communicate with other people or to create new content. When you share information with us, for example by creating a Google Account, we can make those services even better – to show you more relevant search results and ads, to help you connect with people or to make sharing with others quicker and easier. As you use our services, we want you to be clear how we’re using information and the ways in which you can protect your privacy.
- What information we collect and why we collect it.
- How we use that information.
- The choices we offer, including how to access and update information.
We’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible, but if you’re not familiar with terms like cookies, IP addresses, pixel tags and browsers, then read about these key terms first. Your privacy matters to Google so whether you are new to Google or a long-time user, please do take the time to get to know our practices – and if you have any questions consult this page.
Information we collect
We collect information to provide better services to all of our users – from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful, the people who matter most to you online, or which YouTube videos you might like.
We collect information in two ways:
Information you give us. For example, many of our services require you to sign up for a Google Account. When you do, we’ll ask for personal information, like your name, email address, telephone number or credit card. If you want to take full advantage of the sharing features we offer, we might also ask you to create a publicly visible Google Profile, which may include your name and photo.
Information we get from your use of our services. We collect information about the services that you use and how you use them, like when you watch a video on YouTube, visit a website that uses our advertising services, or you view and interact with our ads and content. This information includes:
When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This includes:
- details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.
- Internet protocol address.
- cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account.
When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.
Unique application numbers
Cookies and anonymous identifiers
How we use information we collect
If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts. We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account.
When you contact Google, we keep a record of your communication to help solve any issues you might be facing. We may use your email address to inform you about our services, such as letting you know about upcoming changes or improvements.
We use information collected from cookies and other technologies, like pixel tags, to improve your user experience and the overall quality of our services. One of the products we use to do this on our own services is Google Analytics. For example, by saving your language preferences, we’ll be able to have our services appear in the language you prefer. When showing you tailored ads, we will not associate a cookie or anonymous identifier with sensitive categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation or health.
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.
Transparency and choice
- Visit your Google Account History for settings that allow you to control the collection of personal information from Google services, such as Search, YouTube and Location History.
- View and edit your preferences about the Google ads shown to you on Google and across the web, such as which categories might interest you, using Ads Settings. You can also opt out of certain Google advertising services here.
- Adjust how the Profile associated with your Google Account appears to others.
- Control who you share information with through your Google Account.
- Take information associated with your Google Account out of many of our services.
- Choose whether your Profile name and Profile photo appear in shared endorsements that appear in ads.
You may also set your browser to block all cookies, including cookies associated with our services, or to indicate when a cookie is being set by us. However, it’s important to remember that many of our services may not function properly if your cookies are disabled. For example, we may not remember your language preferences.
Information you share
Accessing and updating your personal information
We may reject requests that are unreasonably repetitive, require disproportionate technical effort (for example, developing a new system or fundamentally changing an existing practice), risk the privacy of others, or would be extremely impractical (for instance, requests concerning information residing on backup systems).
Information we share
We do not share personal information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Google unless one of the following circumstances applies:
With your consent
With domain administrators
- view statistics regarding your account, like statistics regarding applications you install.
- change your account password.
- suspend or terminate your account access.
- access or retain information stored as part of your account.
- restrict your ability to delete or edit information or privacy settings.
For external processing
For legal reasons
- meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.
- enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations.
- detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.
- We encrypt many of our services using SSL.
Compliance and cooperation with regulatory authorities
Specific product practices
For more information about some of our most popular services, you can visit the Google Product Privacy Guide.
Other useful privacy and security related materials
Further useful privacy and security related materials can be found through Google’s policies and principles pages, including:
- Information about our technologies and principles, which includes, among other things, more information on
- A page that explains what data is shared with Google when you visit websites that use our advertising, analytics and social products.
- Google’s safety center, which provides information on how to stay safe and secure online.
"access to your personal information"
For example, with Google Dashboard you can quickly and easily see some of the data associated with your Google Account. Learn more.
"ads you’ll find most useful"
For example, if you frequently visit websites and blogs about gardening, you may see ads related to gardening as you browse the web. Learn more.
For example, if you frequently visit websites and blogs about gardening that show our ads, you may start to see ads related to this interest as you browse the web. Learn more.
"and other sensors"
Your device may have sensors that provide information to assist in a better understanding of your location. For example, an accelerometer can be used to determine things like speed, or a gyroscope to figure out direction of travel. Learn more.
This includes information like your usage data and preferences, Gmail messages, G+ profile, photos, videos, browsing history, map searches, docs, or other Google-hosted content. Learn more.
"combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services"
For example, when you’re signed in to your Google Account and search on Google, you can see search results from the public web, along with pages, photos, and Google+ posts from your friends and people who know you or follow you on Google+ may see your posts and profile in their results. Learn more.
"connect with people"
For example, you could get suggestions of people you might know or want to connect with on Google+, based on the connections you have with people on other Google products, like Gmail and people who have a connection with you may see your profile as a suggestion. Learn more.
Whilst we currently don’t ask for a credit card during sign up, verifying your age through a small credit card transaction is one way to confirm that you meet our age requirements in case your account was disabled after you have entered a birthday indicating you are not old enough to have a Google Account. Learn more.
"develop new ones"
For example, Google’s spell checking software was developed by analyzing previous searches where users had corrected their own spelling. Learn more.
Device identifiers let Google know which unique device you are using to access our services, which can be used to customise our service to your device or analyse any device issues related to our services. Learn more.
For example, when you visit Google Play from your desktop, Google can use this information to help you decide on which devices you'd like your purchases to be available for use. Learn more.
"improve your user experience"
For example, cookies allow us to analyse how users interact with our services. Learn more.
"legal process or enforceable governmental request"
Like other technology and communications companies, Google regularly receives requests from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data. Learn more.
"limit sharing or visibility settings"
For example, you can choose your settings so your name and photo do not appear in an ad. Learn more.
"linked with information about visits to multiple sites"
Google Analytics is based on first-party cookies. Data generated through Google Analytics can be linked, by the Google Analytics customer or by Google, using Google technology, to third-party cookies, related to visits to other websites, for instance when an advertiser wants to use its Google Analytics data to create more relevant ads, or to further analyze its traffic. Learn more.
"may collect and process information about your actual location"
For example, Google Maps can center the maps view on your current location. Learn more.
"may not function properly"
For example, we use a cookie called ‘lbcs’ which makes it possible for you to open many Google Docs in one browser. Learn more.
"and our partners"
For example, if you add a phone number as a recovery option, if you forget your password Google can send you a text message with a code to enable you to reset it. Learn more.
"protect Google and our users"
For example, if you're concerned about unauthorized access to your email, "Last account activity" in Gmail shows you information about recent activity in your email, such as the IP addresses that accessed your mail, the associated location, as well as the time and date. Learn more.
For example, with Google+, you have many different sharing options. Learn more.
"sharing with others quicker and easier"
For example, if someone is already a contact, Google will autocomplete their name if you want to add them to a message in Gmail. Learn more.
"the people who matter most to you online"
For example, when you type an address in the To, Cc, or Bcc field of a message you're composing, Gmail will suggest addresses from your Contacts list. Learn more.
"to make it easier to share things with people you know"
For example, if you have communicated with someone via Gmail and want to add them to a Google Doc or an event in Google Calendar, Google makes it easy to do so by autocompleting their email address when you start to type in their name. Learn more.
"view and interact with our ads"
For example, we regularly report to advertisers on whether we served their ad to a page and whether that ad was likely to be seen by users (as opposed to, for example, being on part of the page to which users did not scroll). Learn more.
"We may share aggregated, non-personally identifiable information publicly"
When lots of people start searching for something, it can provide very useful information about particular trends at that time. Learn more.
"Wi-Fi access points and cell towers"
For example, Google can approximate your device’s location based on the known location of nearby cell towers. Learn more.
"more relevant search results"
For example, we can make search more relevant and interesting for you by including photos, posts, and more from you and your friends.