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Google exec says it can't afford to break our trust

The search giant is still living up to its "Don't be evil" policy, according to one of its execs, anyway.

Is Google living up to its "Don't be evil" motto? Some would question that it is, due to its new privacy policy that came into effect on 1 March accused of breaking European law. But the company can't afford to lose our trust, according to one executive.

"If we do things that are evil, with one click you can leave Google," Vic Gundotra, senior vice president for engineering at Google, and the man who headed up Google Plus, told CNN in an interview at SXSW in Texas. "If we break the users' trust, we can lose to competitors very quickly."

Its new policy lets it use data gathered from us and our habits online across all its services, including YouTube, Gmail, Google search, Blogger, and more. According to EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, this flies in the face of European law. Google rejected requests from European regulators to delay the changes to allow for an investigation. French data protection authority CNIL is also protesting the changes, accusing Google of breaching the 1995 European directive on data protection.

But all the changes are aimed at making Google better, according to Gundotra. "There are some things Google could have done better," he said. "If we could build a common notion of your identity and your relationships, we thought, we could make Google better." Hence Google Plus and the ability to "+1" restaurants, articles, and more, as a recommendation to a friend.

Questioned about competition with Facebook, Gundotra said Google Plus isn't a standalone social network -- rather it makes all of Google's products and services social. That was his excuse for lagging behind Facebook's 800 million members, anyway.

What do you make of the new privacy policy? And is Google still true to its roots? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.