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Google privacy policy starts today, EU investigation coming

Google's controversial privacy policy comes into effect today despite the fact it might violate European law.

Google's new privacy policy rolls out today, and if you haven't already wiped your search history, then it's too late. The new policy means the search giant can use data it's collected from your web history across its other services, including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.

Google is going ahead with the changes despite warnings from data regulators in France that it could be breaching European law.

The search giant claims the new policy means it can tailor search results and target us with more relevant adverts, as well as make other use of the information.

Google has been letting people using its services know about the changes since January. With all those annoying pop-ups, you can't accuse it of keeping quiet about it. Though, of course, it's promoted the change as a simplification of its privacy rules, saying it's consolidating 60 polices into one.

In a blog post, Alma Whitten, Google's director of privacy, product and engineering, wrote: "It's the same Google experience that you're used to, with the same controls."

You can't opt out of the changes if you want to carry on using Google's services. So if you search for things like this on YouTube, expect to see some pretty strange adverts popping up in your Gmail.

France's data protection watchdog, the CNIL, wrote to Google saying that it would lead a Europe-wide investigation of the policy. It stated it had "strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness" of the policy, as well as its "compliance with European data protection legislation". The regulator is expected to send Google questions on the changes by the middle of the month.

Google has rejected two requests from European regulators to delay the changes.

What do you think of the new policy? Is it just making things easier for us, or is Google becoming too powerful? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.