According to Gizmodo, the first to report on the development, the change means that Google can now effectively scrape everything users post online and feed all of that information to its AI platforms, including its recently launched chatbot Bard.
Anything a user posts on Google will now go to the AI
“Google uses information to improve our services and to develop new products, features and technologies that benefit our users and the public. For example, we use publicly available information to help train Google’s AI models and build products and features like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities,” states the policy under the sub-head ‘publicly accessible resources.’
The most notable part of the section is where Google states that it will use “publicly available information” for its AI models such as “Bard, and Cloud AI.”
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For instance, there was no mention of “products” and “Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities” in the previous policy, which came into effect on 15 December 2022. It also mentioned “language” models instead of AI.
To put it simply, a language model, or large language models (LLM), is a deep-learning programme that can comprehend and respond to text in almost human-like manner. AI chatbots such as Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are trained on LLMs.
Gizmodo underlines that “If Google can read your words, assume they belong to the company now, and expect that they’re nesting somewhere in the bowels of a chatbot.”
“This latest update simply clarifies that newer services like Bard are also included. We incorporate privacy principles and safeguards into the development of our AI technologies, in line with our AI Principles,” added Muldoon.
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Lawsuits on data collection
The 157-page lawsuit, filed on 28 June in a district court in the Northern District of California, alleges that OpenAI never registered as a data broker and yet “scraped 300 billion words from the internet.”
“Despite established protocols for the purchase and use of personal information, Defendants took a different approach: theft,” reads the lawsuit.
It also mentioned Microsoft as a defendant. The company is a major investor in OpenAI, having pumped in around USD 13 billion into it.
MORE: I believe Google still knows they are suspectible to lawsuits for their past actions before this policy change… and they plan to release more commercial AI product.
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OpenAI’s case isn’t the only one. In 2020, Clearview AI, a company that scraped social media photos and built a facial-recognition tool for the police, was sued by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other parties.
The lawsuit was settled two years later, in May 2022, preventing Clearview AI from selling its database to businesses and individuals in the US.
“Depending on your settings, we may also show you personalized ads based on your interests. For example, if you search for “mountain bikes,” you may see ads for sports equipment on YouTube,” reads the section.
The revision history shows that Google has removed the part “when you’re browsing a site that shows ads served by Google” and added “YouTube,” making it explicit where the ads will be shown.
(Main image: Firmbee.com/@firmbee/Unsplash; Featured image: Mojahid Mottakin/@iammottakin/Unsplash)