Google tracks consumers’ online activities across products, and users can’t opt out

The Web giant announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its leading search engine.

Google has already been collecting some of this information. But for the first time, it is combining data across its Web sites to stitch together a fuller portrait of users.

Consumers who are logged into Google services won’t be able to opt out of the changes, which take effect March 1. And experts say the policy shift will invite greater scrutiny from federal regulators of the company’s privacy and competitive practices.

Sounds creepy, and while beneficial, I still find it a little jarring to see advertisements pop up in my GMail account that are clearly generated by a keyword search of the email I’m looking at.

It’s also not very smart. No, Google, I’m just talking to my friend Victoria — not looking for sexy panties.

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