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Google Privacy FAQ

1. What is personal information?

"Personal information" is information that you provide to us which personally identifies you, such as your name, email address or billing information, or other data which can be reasonably linked to such information by Google.

2. What is a Google Account?

You may access some of our services by signing up for a Google Account and providing us with some personal information (typically your name, email address and a password). This account information will be used to authenticate you when you access Google services and protect your account from unauthorized access by others. We may share personal information among our various services in order to customize content and enhance our services for you. No account information is shared with anyone other than Google except as specified in the Privacy Policy or with your consent.

You can edit or terminate your account at any time through your Google Account settings.

3. What is a cookie?

A "cookie" is a small file containing a string of characters that is sent to your computer when you visit a website. When you visit the website again, the cookie allows that site to recognize your browser. Cookies may store user preferences and other information. You can reset your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, some website features or services may not function properly without cookies.

4. What are server logs?

Like most Web sites, our servers automatically record the page requests made when users visit our sites. These "server logs" typically include your web request, Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.

Here is an example of a typical log entry where the search is for "cars", followed by a breakdown of its parts:

123.45.67.89 - 25/Mar/2003 10:15:32 - http://www.google.com/search?q=cars - Firefox 1.0.7; Windows NT 5.1 - 740674ce2123e969

  • 123.45.67.89 is the Internet Protocol address assigned to the user by the user's ISP; depending on the user's service, a different address may be assigned to the user by their service provider each time they connect to the Internet;
  • 25/Mar/2003 10:15:32 is the date and time of the query;
  • http://www.google.com/search?q=cars is the requested URL, including the search query;
  • Firefox 1.0.7; Windows NT 5.1 is the browser and operating system being used; and
  • 740674ce2123a969 is the unique cookie ID assigned to this particular computer the first time it visited Google. (Cookies can be deleted by users. If the user has deleted the cookie from the computer since the last time s/he visited Google, then it will be the unique cookie ID assigned to the user the next time s/he visits Google from that particular computer).
5. What information does Google receive if I click on a link displayed on Google?

When you click on a link displayed on Google, the fact that you clicked on the link may be sent to Google. In this way, Google is able to record information about how you use our site and services.

We use this information to improve the quality of our services and for other business purposes. For example, Google can use this information to determine how often users are satisfied with the first result of a query and how often they proceed to later results. Similarly, Google can use this information to determine how many times an advertisement is clicked in order to calculate how much the advertiser should be charged.

6. What is sensitive information?

"Sensitive personal information" includes information we know to be related to confidential medical information, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality and tied to personal information.

7. What is aggregated non-personal information?

"Aggregate non-personal information" is information that is recorded about users and collected into groups so that it no longer reflects or references an individually identifiable user.

8. URLs and embedded information

Some of our services, including Google Toolbar and Google Web Accelerator, send the uniform resource locators ("URLs") of web pages that you request to Google. When you use these services, Google will receive and store the URL sent by the web sites you visit, including any personal information inserted into those URLs by the web site operator. Some Google services (such as Google Toolbar) enable you to opt-in or opt-out of sending URLs to Google, while for others (such as Google Web Accelerator) the sending of URLs to Google is intrinsic to the service. When you sign up for any such service, you will be informed clearly that the service sends URLs to Google, and whether and how you can opt-in or opt-out.

For example, when you submit information to a web page (such as a user login ID or registration information), the operator of that web site may "embed" that information - including personal information - into its URL (typically, after a question mark ("?") in the URL). When the URL is transmitted to Google, our servers automatically store the URL, including any personal information that has been embedded after the question mark. Google does not exercise any control over these web sites or whether they embed personal information into URLs.

9. What protections do I have against intrusions by the government into my use of Google services?

Google does comply with valid legal process, such as search warrants, court orders, or subpoenas seeking personal information. These same processes apply to all law-abiding companies. As has always been the case, the primary protections you have against intrusions by the government are the laws that apply to where you live.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about this Policy, please feel free to contact us any time through this web site or at Privacy Matters, c/o Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California, 94043, USA.