Google's decision in 2012 to merge the privacy policies of about 60 of its services, including search YouTube, Gmail, Picasa and Docs, led to the French investigation. Google failed to sufficiently inform users about how the services would use their personal data and did not comply with French requirements to get user permission before installing cookies on their computers, CNIL said. Google also combined the data it collects about its users "across all of its services without any legal basis," CNIL said in a press release.
Google's actions had a widespread effect in France, the agency said. "Nearly all Internet users in France are impacted by this decision due to the number of services concerned," it said.
CNIL's Sanctions Committee did not challenge Google's right to simplify its privacy policies by merging them, the agency said.
The Sanctions Committee has ordered Google to publish the agency's decision at Google.fr within 48 hours and keep it up for eight days.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.