When Google filed an S-1 for its 2004 IPO, one of the sections in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s letter to shareholders was titled “Don’t Be Evil.”  According to the prospectus, the founders’ belief was that Google’s long-run interests would be better served if it “does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.” Since Google’s 1998 founding and its 2004 public offering, it has evolved from a powerful search engine provider to a company whose diverse set of products are used daily by millions. With growth came speculation and criticism that Google did not live up to its “Don’t Be Evil” standard.

Its latest privacy policy change has brought more criticism that Google has broken its oft-cited, unofficial motto. A privacy policy is a disclosure document, whose purpose is to inform consumers on how a website deals with consumer information i.e. the type of information a website collects from its users, the ways it will use that information, and with whom it will share it.

So is Google now going to use your personal information for world domination? It’s tough to say, but here’s what the new privacy policy actually does: it consolidates multiple privacy policies for various services into one, and explicitly states that it will now use information about a user from one of its services in all of its other services. So, if you use Gmail, Google will now be able to use the information it gathers about you from your emails and use this for targeted ads in, say, YouTube. Keep in mind, it will only do this if you’re using Google services while logged-in to your account; and it won’t sell your data to third parties. On the other hand, the only way to opt-out of the new policy is if you stop using Google services — so, you basically can’t opt-out of the new policy.

One thing is certain: Google is being very vocal about informing its users of this policy change. Since announcing the change, it has barraged its users with notifications, such as the now-familiar “This stuff matters” pop-up. This follows some recent court decisions questioning the common practice of simply relying on users to stumble upon your changes, providing more transparency to users; if the change is important and you expect it to be binding on users, steps must be taken to ensure users actually see the change. Google’s aggressive tactics in informing users of its changed policy could set a new internet standard for dealing with such issues.