By RYAN NAKASHIMA
AP Business Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Google Inc. is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.
For example, if you spent the last hour logged into Google to search the Web for skateboards, the next time you log into YouTube, there's a good chance you'll get recommendations for videos featuring Tony Hawk.
The changes take effect March 1 and remove some of the legal hurdles that Google faced by having more than 70 different privacy policies across various services. Now, there will be one main policy covering services such as Google Plus, Gmail, search, YouTube and Maps, with separate ones covering sensitive services such as Google Wallet.
Still, the changes could irk privacy critics because of the sheer volume of information collected — including your location, list of contacts and the contents of your email.
Google hopes to improve the user experience across its different services and give advertisers a better way to find customers.
But he said the company still needs to be careful how it uses the data so that it helps users, without revealing sensitive information.
"If it creeps people out, then they need to be aware of that," he said. (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)