Will Google’s New Privacy Policies Affect Reviews?

Google recently announced that they would now delete private web and location history data from their servers after 18 months unless advised otherwise. They also noted that these new default retention periods do not apply to Google products such as Gmail, Drive and Photos, because “such services are designed to store personal content for as long as users need access to it.”

But on Twitter the concern arose whether this auto-deletion process applied to reviews and whether it might lead to older reviews being deleted.

Will Google's new auto deletion of private information affect reviews?

Reviews Are Public

In fact just the opposite has occurred. Google has not only excluded reviews from this policy but they have rolled out a new highly visible, automatic notification that shows up when you first start to write a review that indicates that reviews are in fact pubic.

Google's Review Posting Policy - reviews are public

The notification is so visible that it blocks the users ability to see or leave the star rating for the review until they make an additional click.

Google policy about reviews is so public that it requires the user to click before they can leave a review

Reviews Are Very Public

They go on to say in their help documentation that “if you do not want to share your experience … please do not publish it using this service”. Your reviews, along with your profile name and photo, will appear not just on Google but “may also appear within third-party sites that use Google embeddable widgets or the Google Maps Platform API”.

There is no expectation of privacy when you leave a review at Google and a review will not come down unless the original author explicitly removes it or Google determines that it is spam.

About The Author

Mike Blumenthal is a co-founder of GatherUp and helps oversee our research, industry insight and agency offering. Mike has long been regarded as the foremost expert on local search and Google Maps, earning the nickname “Professor Maps”. Mike also co-founded Local University, which provides small business and agency training in sustainable local search marketing. His motto: All Local All the Time.  He writes at his blog and does a twice a week LocalU podcast about Local marketing. 

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