Google’s sneaky new smartphone update collects WAY more of your personal data than ever before

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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The latest smartphone update released by Google sounds like it’s engineered to make your virtual life a lot simpler by logging you into all of your Google apps at once. What it actually does is track more of your personal data and allow for better targeting than ever before.

In the newest Gmail app update for Apple’s iOS 7 iPhone operating system, a change was built into the sign-in feature that automatically links your account to every other Google app on your phone. From now on, whether you want or not, signing into any app including Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Drive or Chrome signs you into all of them simultaneously and automatically.

“Sign in to one, and you’ll be signed in to all,” Google said in a short post on its Gmail blog. “So you won’t have to type in that 27-character password or retrieve your 2-step verification code every time you navigate to another Google app. You may need to re-login after you update the app, but then you’ll be all set.”

The sign-in link makes it drastically more convenient for Google to track and link all online data and activity to every individual user, and “fills [the] gap in Google’s knowledge” when smartphone users are signed into Gmail but shop on Chrome or watch a video on YouTube anonymously, for example.

Quartz reports that 86 percent of smartphone use time is spent on apps, and 14 percent in the phone’s Web browser.

Such knowledge allows Google to engage in more effective targeted advertising by correlating where and how it showed users ads, and if they influenced subsequent purchases — highly sought-after information for giant Silicon Valley advertisers, according to Quartz.

Google is still fighting legal battles across multiple countries in Europe over a similar change that occurred in 2012 when the company combined 60 privacy policy agreements (the legal agreement you scroll through and “accept” to use a new service) into one agreement for a range of services.

“The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” Google said while again hiding the change in language meant to sound like a benefit to users.

“In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

France and Spain fined Google, and four other EU countries including Germany have launched ongoing investigations into Google’s data privacy breaches of European law.

The potential for privacy infringement from Google has even more room to grow as the company enters the Internet service provider marketplace with new services like Google Fiber, which is the fastest consumer service available in Kansas City, Missouri, Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. Google is in talks with 34 other cities considering fiber, and has specific expansion plans in nine more already.

Reports out Thursday indicated that the company may offer its own proprietary wireless service in Google Fiber areas, and establish Google as a mobile virtual network operator. Google has reportedly been discussing such plans with Verizon and Sprint since last year.

Such changes from Silicon Valley giants on the scale of Google raise greater, third-party concerns since the revelation last month that Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others cooperated with the National Security Agency PRISM bulk surveillance program that gathered vast amounts of Internet metadata on American citizens.

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