Last modified: 1 May 2015 (view archived versions)
There are many different ways that 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 that 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 that 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 receive 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:
- details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.
- telephony log information, such as your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
- Internet protocol address.
- device event information, such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL.
- 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 mobile towers.
Unique application numbers
Cookies and anonymous identifiers
How we use information that we collect
We use the information that we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.
We may use the name that you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account, so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo.
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 that you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account.
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 provide you our services in your preferred language. 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 analyse your content (including emails) to provide you with personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising and spam and malware detection.
We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example, to make it easier to share things with people you know. We will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent.
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 that you share
Accessing and updating your personal information
Where we can provide information access and correction, we will do so free of charge, except where it would require a disproportionate effort. We aim to maintain our services in a manner that protects information from accidental or malicious destruction. Because of this, after you delete information from our services, we may not immediately delete residual copies from our active servers and may not remove information from our backup systems.
Information that we share
We do not share personal information with companies, organisations and individuals outside of Google unless one of the following circumstances applies:
With your consent
We will share personal information with companies, organisations or individuals outside Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.
With domain administrators
If your Google Account is managed for you by a domain administrator (for example, for Google Apps users) then your domain administrator and resellers who provide user support to your organisation will have access to your Google Account information (including your emails and other data). Your domain administrator may be able to:
- view statistics regarding your account, such as statistics regarding applications that 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
We will share personal information with companies, organisations or individuals outside Google if we have a belief in good faith that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to:
- 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.
- protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, our users or the public, as required or permitted by law.
We work hard to protect Google and our users from unauthorised access to or unauthorised alteration, disclosure or destruction of information that we hold. In particular:
- We encrypt many of our services using SSL.
- We offer you two-step verification when you access your Google Account and a Safe Browsing feature in Google Chrome.
- We review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to guard against unauthorised access to systems.
- We restrict access to personal information to Google employees, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to process it for us and who are subject to strict contractual confidentiality obligations. They may be disciplined or their contract terminated if they fail to meet these obligations.
Compliance and cooperation with regulatory authorities
Specific product practices
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:
- Google’s safety centre, which provides information on how to stay safe and secure online.
"access to your personal information"
"ads that you'll find most useful"
"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 work 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.
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"
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 analysing previous searches where users had corrected their own spelling. 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"
"limit sharing or visibility settings"
For example, you can choose your settings so that 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 analyse its traffic. Learn more.
"may collect and process information about your actual location"
For example, Google Maps can centre the maps view on your current location. Learn more.
"may not function properly"
"and our partners"
For example, provided you have added 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 unauthorised 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 auto-complete 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 that 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 auto-completing their email address when you start to type in their name. Learn more.
"view and interact with our ads"
"We may share aggregated, non-personally identifiable information publicly"
"Wi-Fi access points and mobile phone masts"
For example, Google can approximate your device’s location based on the known location of nearby mobile masts. 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.