Google uses YouTube for search privacy PR effort

August 9, 2007, 7:27 AM UTC
Fortune

Google (GOOG) has begun using its YouTube video site to get its message out about privacy policies for its search engine.

A message on the Official Google Blog describes the effort this way:

This video runs about 5 minutes, so we couldn’t cover everything. Over time, we hope to create additional videos where we talk about other privacy issues: what data do we collect when you register for a Google Account? or – when you search on Google while you’re logged in? or – why does Google keeps server logs? But before we head down the road of sequels, we’d like to get your feedback on whether you find this video format helpful.

The video does explain Google’s basic privacy policies in a way that’s easy for non-techies to understand, but I couldn’t help feeling that the video wasn’t telling the whole story. As the Google blog entry concedes, the video doesn’t mention (for example) that the company connects more information to your identity when you search while logged into your Google Account – that’s the sort of information I think most people find troubling.

Still, the video is more forthcoming and informative than many companies have been with their privacy policies. The search privacy issue is getting attention again lately. The Center for Democracy in Technology released a report this week praising the major search engines, including those from Google, Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT), for promising to alter their privacy policies and add more safeguards.

To judge for yourself how thorough and informative Google’s video is, view it below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLgJYBRzUXY]