Google Book Search is the search engine giant's mammoth undertaking to scan millions of the world's books online and offer them to users for fees. To do this, Google last October paid $125 million to settle a five-year-old, class-action lawsuit with the Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers.
While Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo and other organizations are opposing the deal because they fear the power it will afford Google over the world's books, privacy advocates lamented the lack of a policy that protects readers from any undue data collection. Google had been loath to institute a formal policy until the deal was approved and it could officially begin building the infrastructure for the service. That changed, apparently after the FTC and Google began talking.
In particular, Vladeck asked Google to limit secondary uses of data, such as using a list of books read in order to decide which advertising to show a Google Books user. Google took the FTC's requests to heart and announced a formal policy, which can be found here.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz acknowledged Google's gesture in a statement: "The Google Books initiative could provide a wealth of benefits for consumers, yet it also raises serious privacy challenges because of the vast amount of user information that could be collected. Privacy is a top priority of the FTC, and I am pleased that Google has listened to FTC staff's concerns and agreed to take initial steps, as outlined in the letters, to protect the privacy of Google Books users."