Following the introduction of Google’s new privacy policy, late last week we reported government officials issued a statement and planned to request that the Federal Communications Commission launch a probe to investigate the changes. In response, Google has now issued its own letter to Congress addressing some of the concerns and detailing important issues that are not changing.

Before answering the questions presented in the letter from Congress, Google took some time to outline aspects of its policies that will not change. Among them: Google reminded Congress that the new policy will only apply to users signed into a Google account, while those signed in can still access the usual privacy settings like turning off search history, tailoring ads within Ads Preferences Manager, and setting Gmail chat to “off the record.”

Google noted, “The privacy policy changes don’t affect our users’ existing privacy settings. If a user has already used our privacy tools to opt out of personalized search or ads, for example,” they will remain opted out. The company also made it clear the new policy will not collect any new or additional data. Google further clarified how users will be able to access multiple accounts:

Furthermore, people can still set up multiple accounts to manage multiple identities, move data between those accounts with Data Liberation tools, and prevent information from one account from being used to personalize another account. If Jane wants to use Google Docs and keep that separate from her personal Google+ account, she may create a work_account_jane@gmail.com account that she uses for Docs, and a personal_account_jane@gmail.com account that she uses for sharing on Google+.

Google also broke down exactly why the new privacy policies were necessary for creating a better user experience:

Our privacy policies have restricted our ability to combine information within an account for two services: Web History, which is search history for signed-in users, and YouTube, the video-sharing service we acquired in 2007. (We had not updated YouTube’s original privacy policy to include Google, with the result that Google could share information with YouTube, but not vice versa.) For example, if a user is signed in and searching Google for cooking recipes, our current privacy policies wouldn’t let us recommend cooking videos when she visits YouTube based on her searches – even though she was signed into the same Google Account when using both Google Search and YouTube. 

Google plans to officially roll out the new privacy policy on March 1, 2012.

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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.