Google’s New Privacy Policy: A Gateway to AI Advancements Using Public Data

Google has recently updated its privacy policy, allowing the tech giant to use publicly accessible information to train and create AI products. The policy change, effective from July 1, signifies Google’s increased focus on AI development, with public search behavior potentially playing a significant role.

The revised policy states, “Google uses information to improve our services and to develop new products, features, and technologies that benefit our users and the public. For example, we use publicly available information to help train Google’s AI models and build products and features like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities.”

Previously, the policy mentioned the use of public data only for training Google’s “language models” and a single reference to Google Translate. While the update does not directly impact Google products or user experience at present, it indicates the company’s growing emphasis on AI.

Google has been hinting at several AI initiatives, including AI shopping experiences, Google Lens features, and a text-to-music generator. Despite an initial lukewarm response, Google’s AI chatbot, Bard, has quickly caught up with other market competitors. The company also announced an upcoming AI-based search, the Search Generative Experience (SGE), to enhance its AI offerings.

However, introducing new AI products has been met with concerns about privacy, intellectual property, and the impact on human labor and creativity. Last month, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, warned its employees about the security risks of using chatbots. Google has released its Secure AI Framework to bolster cybersecurity against AI threats.

The policy change has drawn comparisons to the controversial ClearView AI, which built a law-enforcement-grade facial recognition app by sourcing billions of facial images from social media sites and other platforms. Google seems to be preemptively warning users of its future AI plans, indicating that user searches might contribute to making an AI bot smarter.

Despite the potential benefits of AI, the question of privacy remains a significant concern. As Google ventures into the AI space, it will be crucial to balance technological advancement with user privacy and security.

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