On 26 January 2012, Google posted this on it's Public Policy blog:
So, here’s the real story:
- You still have choice and control. You don’t need to log in to use many of our services, including Search, Maps and YouTube. If you are logged in, you can still edit or turn off your Search history, switch Gmail chat to “off the record,” control the way Google tailors ads to your interests, use Incognito mode on Chrome, or use any of the otherprivacy tools we offer.
- We’re not collecting more data about you. Our new policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve your experience on Google — whichever products or services you use. This is something we have already been doing for a long time.
- We’re making things simpler and we’re trying to be upfront about it. Period.
- You can use as much or as little of Google as you want. For example, you can have a Google Account and choose to use Gmail, but not use Google+. Or you could keep your data separate with different accounts -- for example, one for YouTube and another for Gmail.
Click through to Google's Good to Know website, and click on the Manage Your Data choice. Work through all the links on the left side of the page. If you access your Google Dashboard, remember that the new Privacy Settings won't show up until after 1 March 2012.
If you want to read more, see Mashable's post here, The Washington Post here, or Discovery News here.