The policy comes at the behest of the FTC, which wondered what could happen when customers start downloading the millions of scanned books in Google’s library. The FTC has “concerns about Google gaining access to vast amounts of consumer data regarding the books consumers search for, purchase, and read.”
Google will not force a user to log into a Google account when reading pages of books online, browsing through a university’s subscription, or viewing through a public library terminal.
Buying a book will require logging in, but users can delete histories of books they have purchased, and credit card companies won’t get buying histories.
I imagine Google hopes that its preemptive policy launch will help silence critics, but after the onslaught of opposition from the likes of the Open Book Alliance, the German government, and Amazon, it looks as though the Google Books Settlement has a long, hard road ahead.