These services are available on Windows and, in many cases, on other Microsoft devices and services, including Windows Phone, Xbox, and third-party devices and services.
In relation to privacy, it will not use personal documents, photos, files, or what users say in email, chat, video calls, or voice mail to target advertising.
In relation to transparency, it has updated the Code of Conduct so users can better understand the types of behaviours that could affect their account, and added language that parents are responsible for minor children's use of Microsoft account and services, including purchases.
The changes take effect from 31 July and apply if you use its services. It also gives users opt out options for advertising and cookies.
The changes are significant and reflect a real concern that data collection online is becoming too intrusive although they will still collect information to provide more and better services.
Google now reads emails to add events, flights, travel, delivery information etc., to your calendar. Most users of Google services perhaps are unaware of the extent of the intrusion. Microsoft is hoping to gain the trust of those users by exposing what they do not collect!
With the issues surrounding big brother and NSA snooping Microsoft is ensuring that information about you stays in your control. Its new Cortana voice personal assistant is customisable and allows users to control what is collected – even to edit that information once collected. Smart move by Microsoft that Google is unlikely to match.