Google’s new privacy policy takes effect on March 1. It allows them to collect and consolidate user data from all its web properties — Search, Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, Maps and about 50 other Google services. You can’t opt out.

Google has always collected this data at its individual sites. Now it will combine them to get a fuller profile of each of us. Why? It’s all about the green. The more Google knows about you, the more money it makes with targeted ads. Or, in Googletalk, it can provide “a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

What’s privacy worth?

This year’s Art Basel Miami Beach included an installation that prompted attendees to weigh the cost of privacy. Branger Brize set up a charging station, but you could use it only if you agreed to the Terms of Use giving them license to download and use the photos stored on your phone in a digital art projection at the exhibition. Hmm, dead phone or public embarrassment?

Forrester Research says people are more informed about privacy, distinguishing between extremely sensitive information and other data. 44% of consumers surveyed said they hadn’t completed an online transaction because of something they read in a privacy policy. And it is generational, young people are more open and willing to give up their information in exchange for discounts. Naivety or savvy consumerism?

This is our new reality: weighing how much privacy we’ll give up to use a service or make a purchase. We tolerate Facebook’s exploitation of our data because we give it up in exchange for using their platform. We value the return on our data: access to social networks, customization, recommendations, and ultimately, better products and services.

Please read the rest of this post at the Avectra blog.

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Photo by Alan Cleaver (Flickr)