Google Adds Terms to Clarify User Data Analyzed for Ads

Google Inc. is updating its terms of service to more clearly show how the company can analyze user content to tailor features and personalize advertising, as it looks to leverage customer data to bolster its business.

The new terms add a paragraph that says Google’s analysis can affect user content that is sent, received and when it is stored, the company said on its website today. The guidelines are set to go into effect on April 14.

“We want our policies to be simple and easy for users to understand,” Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, wrote in an e-mailed statement. “Today’s changes will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last few months.”

The world’s largest Web search provider, which is under scrutiny for how it handles personal data, is seeking new ways to extract information from its users as it looks to expand online advertising revenue. Last year, the company, which provides services that range from e-mail to social networking, broadened its use of profile names and photos in advertisements.

The changes come after Google won a major victory in its fight against claims that it illegally scanned private e-mail messages earlier this month. Still, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said the company’s policies with respect to a particular group of e-mail users at educational institutions were “vague at best, and misleading, at worst.”

The new terms specifically mention e-mail, among other services.

“Our automated systems analyze your content (including e-mails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection,” the company said in its update today.