Now, the first thing to point out is that one of the reasons for Google receiving so much attention when their change was issued, was their own commitment to making sure people knew what they were doing.
Microsoft announced their change on their Microsoft Volume Licensing blog, a blog that’s read so rarely, that virtually no press outlets appeared to notice the blog post. Still, Techmeme, a news site that gathers headlines from technology and general news sources listed nearly 50 stories covering Google's change on the first day.
Microsoft generated a whopping first day list of… less than ten. For Google, it was part of their own statement that worked against them. Here’s an important extract from Google’s announcement:
The major concern was that Google had given itself the right to share your data across various services that might have been limited before. It was this change that Microsoft attacked in their own campaign.
Here's an extract from one of their ads:
"Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like 'transparency', 'simplicity' and 'consistency', are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between everything you search, send, say or stream while using one of their services. But, the way they’re doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser."
Now, when Microsoft sent their announcement to their users, it featured this line: "including aligning our usage to the way we’re designing our cloud services to be highly integrated across many Microsoft products."
For me, that line is nowhere near as the line "we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services" in Google's statement.
The message here seems to be that honesty and transparency doesn’t always pay. Google went out of their way to make sure their users knew what they were doing, and yet they got lambasted for it.
Microsoft however, made their changes in a manner which was far less transparent, and they received a lot less negative attention. At the end of the day however, if you have already placed your trust in these companies by using their services, I don’t think their new terms should be too much of a concern for you.