Ending tussle, Google adds privacy link to home page


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Google has made peace with privacy advocates, and it did so without cluttering up its famously sparse home page.

The search giant had drawn criticism over its refusal to include a link to its privacy policy on Some groups said that was a violation of California law. The company said then that it didn’t think the link was necessary because its privacy policy was ‘readily accessible’ to those looking for it. It could be found, among other places, on its About page, which was linked to from


But Google quietly changed its stance and added a privacy link on Thursday, while privacy advocates were focusing their attention on another Google issue: a New York judge ordered the company to hand over information about YouTube videos and users to media giant Viacom as part of their copyright dispute.

Google announced the privacy link decision on its corporate blog and public policy blog. On the former, Google Vice President Marissa Mayer said founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had told her that she could add ‘Privacy’ to the home page, but only if she subtracted another word -- to keep the word count on at 28. So, as pictured above, the company removed ‘Google’ from the copyright line at the bottom of its home page and added ‘Privacy.’ She said that offering ‘easy access to our privacy information without any added homepage heft is a clear win for our users and an enhancement to your experience.’

Mayer also explained:

Google values our users’ privacy first and foremost. Trust is the basis of everything we do, so we want you to be familiar and comfortable with the integrity and care we give your personal data. We added this link both to our homepage and to our results page to make it easier for you to find information about our privacy principles. The new ‘Privacy’ link goes to our Privacy Center, which was revamped earlier this year to be more straightforward and approachable, with videos and a non-legalese overview to make sure you understand in basic terms what Google does, does not, will, and won’t, do in regard to your personal information.

Thus ends the minor tussle over valuable real estate: Google’s home page. Privacy advocates get their link, and Google’s top executives get to keep their home page clean.

-- Chris Gaither

Image courtesy of Google