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Now that Google's new Privacy Policy will combine data from their various services...

Will Google associate me to my activity on one service even if I am not logged in to that service? Did they always do this?

With the new policy I suspect that if I am logged in and Google search for kittens I may get suggested even more kitten videos when I next visit YouTube. More importantly kitten related advertisements. But what if I was not logged in to search?

A specific example that comes to mind is, if I log in (YouTube/Gmail) at an IP address say at home (maybe on my phone, maybe the same PC) will Google now associate every Search I make to that account even though I am not logged in on that browser at that time?

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Even before the current policy went effect they could do this. I do believe they used one cookie for all their websites. All the new policy allows Google to do is to display results in a Google search based on who you follow on YouTube, Google+, and display ads for Newegg while reading your emails at work after viewing a Newegg video on YouTube while at home. –  Ramhound Mar 1 '12 at 14:36
    
Thanks for your comments and answers, much more credible than my own musings. Now to convince my significant other not to be frightened... –  KCD Mar 2 '12 at 0:16

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Google Privacy Preview "We may collect information about the services that you use and how you use them, like when you visit a website that uses our advertising services or you view and interact with our ads and content. This information includes: "

  • Device information

  • Log information

  • Location information

  • Unique application numbers

  • Local storage

  • Cookies and anonymous identifiers

Yes, Google will be able to log your activity mutually through services. You do not even need to be logged. For example I was searching on Google for "online kids game" for my little cousin to play, later that evening I was using Youtube as usual and I was shown Kids Toys Advertisment for the first time on Youtube, coincidence (I wasn't even logged)? I doubt it.

Check out my answer on this question, I also give deeper details and info on how to protect your identity. Does Google record search / source IP [/ user] pairs?

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I think the response is yes. Be aware google have the whole history of your browser even on non-google site because of google third party scripts.

Example : google knows you visited this page because of Google Analytics and JQuery CDN. When you GET this page, your browser GET Jquery on google CDN and send the location on this site too with the referer.

I wrote another post on how to reduce your footprint, maybe can this help : http://security.stackexchange.com/a/12220

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There is no mechanism to ensure ANY COMPANY, be it Google, MS, etc., is sharing your cookies. They can do so with "flashing" (real quickly) on a temporary basis, where no one would notice, having little to complain about. Aside from this, let's suppose they provided due diligence and never tracked, doesn't stop you from being "cookie jacked" If you're curious to see the "reality" of how you're being tracked, try using Collusion for about a week. The reality is, if you DON'T want to be tracked, stop using cookie PERIOD.

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