[lg policy] Plain language: Your Grandmother Will Love Google=?windows-1252?Q?=92s_?=New Policy Terms

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 25 16:09:02 UTC 2012

Your Grandmother Will Love Google’s New Policy Terms
Google is the new Simple
Drew Bowling | January 24, 2012 @ 6:34pm | 3 Comments | A A A

Google unveiled the update to their Privacy Policies and Terms of
Service earlier today, a little over a month before the changes will
take effect. The modification to their policy, Google said on their
Policies webpage, is a part of an effort to simplify the product
experience for users and an attempt to put users at ease with how
Google tracks and uses people’s information. In fact, Google’s tossed
out more than 60 different privacy polices that apply to their many
services and replaced them all with… one.

The policy, they said, “covers multiple products and features” that
they say reflect their mission to “create one beautifully simple and
intuitive experience across Google.”

The new Privacy Policy is unbelievably short and straight-forward,
broken down into very plain-spoken language that anybody with even a
modicum of Internet or computer literacy will be able to follow. You
know that old test of asking yourself, “Would your grandmother
understand this?” when trying to decide if a statement or explanation
is too heavy in prolix and industry jargon? Your grandmother would
understand Google’s new Privacy Policy (mostly). I assume that this
new Dummy’s Guide to Google Privacy approach is a part of their
greater effort to exercise transparency and related to their recent
marketing campaign, Good to Know.

The Terms of Service is equally tailored to the layperson and
delightfully easy to understand. One notable omission from either
document, though, that I assume will be included in Google’s effort to
personalize the entire Google experience is yesterday’s announcement
that Google+ users will now be able to use pseudonyms on their
accounts (although, at this point, this is understood to be applied
across a person’s entire Google account)

Perhaps the most salient quality that I appreciate about both
documents’ revisions is the nearly-complete lack of legalese that
muddles even the learned mind and drowns out important details that
everyday consumers and users really need to know. One comparison that
comes to mind is Apple’s Terms of Service for iTunes. It’s over twenty
pages long and you’re prompted to read it after every update you
install to iTunes – of which there are many. Who knows what little
Easter eggs of valuable knowledge could be lodged in that morass of
unintelligible legal speak. I don’t know because I’ve never read it
and, when I have attempted, I made it about a paragraph in before
succumbing to deathly boredom and a frustrating lack of comprehension.

Google has effaced all of that confusion with these revised documents
by composing them in fresh, accessible language. That’s not to say
that Google’s previous ToS and Privacy Policy were obscure – as
industry standards go, they weren’t difficult to read. Google, though,
has personalized the language in a way that most people will not only
read but retain.

Hopefully, the user-friendly personalization of Google’s Privacy
Policy and ToS will lead as an example to other industry leaders’
customer service.


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