Journal of Information Systems Applied Research


V13 N2 Pages 54-65

Jul 2020

A Longitudinal Study of Google Privacy Policies

Alan Peslak
Penn State University
Dunmore, PA USA

Lisa Kovalchick
California University of Pennsylvania
California, PA USA

Mauri Conforti
Geisinger Health System
Scranton, PA USA

Abstract: Google has come a long way since its founding by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. From a Stanford University PhD research project, to the world leader in Internet search engines, Google has changed and grown exponentially. “Google it” has become a household phrase. Its core search engine product has approximately 246 million unique US visitors per month. Its market share in the US, in search engines, is estimated at 63%. In addition, it has expanded product offerings to include the ubiquitous YouTube Internet video platform, Google Home smart speakers, Chrome web browser, Android operating system, Pixel phones, and Gmail, among other products. As a result, Google collects a tremendous amount of data from its users. With its growing popularity and the growing user privacy concerns, following the recent data breaches, Google is constantly updating its privacy policy. Our manuscript examines Google privacy policies from 2000 to present day. The policies were collected via the Internet Archive and represent a selected day from each available year from 2000 through 2018. A comprehensive qualitative, linguistics and sentiment analysis on these policies was performed. Our review finds significant similarities and differences in Google privacy policies over the years. Overall, Google privacy policies have become increasingly wordy and legalistic, but also more positive in sentiment and more personal in approach. Though the grade level of the documents has declined slightly they remain at a 12th grade level. Implications and opportunities for further research are presented.

Download this article: JISAR - V13 N2 Page 54.pdf

Recommended Citation: Peslak, A., Kovalchick, L., Conforti, M., (2020). A Longitudinal Study of Google Privacy Policies. Journal of Information Systems Applied Research13(2) pp 54-65. http://JISAR.org/2020-2/ ISSN : 1946 - 1836. A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of CONISAR 2019