To whom it may concern,
If so, in what ways exactly are AOL users affected by Google’s policy changes?
Specifically, if an AOL user signs into AOL, for example, with the handle firstname.lastname@example.org while also signed into Google as, for example, email@example.com, then conducts searches on AOL’s search engine, does Google collect information on firstname.lastname@example.org’s searches and tie them to email@example.com’s account?
Any and all information you can impart on this important topic is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time in this matter.
Ms. M. Marie
And this is how AOL responded (with added emphasis my own):
Dear Ms. Marie,
We are committed to continuing to work closely with Google to ensure we are providing transparency to users of AOL Search. As AOL continues to innovate and develop new products and features, including functionalities from other service providers, we are committed to providing appropriate information and options to our users. Please visit http://privacy.aol.com for the most up to date information and options for the treatment of your AOL information.
Should you have further questions regarding AOL’s collection and use of information, please feel free to contact us at this email address [firstname.lastname@example.org].
AOL Privacy Team
In plain English, I think what AOL means is: it doesn’t matter if you’re signed into AOL or Google (or both) when you use AOL search, because all data transmitted by AOL to Google 1) goes through AOL’s proxy servers first, which strips out most of your IP address (and stripping out your IP address, folks, is good, because Google also collects info on you based solely on the IP address you search and use Google on, without even signing in!) and 2) your data is so anonymized by the time it gets from AOL’s proxy servers back to Google’s machines that no one at Google could reliably tie it to your AOL or Google account, anyway.
*Google has not yet responded to my request for clarification.