Protesters had said that the link was a legal requirement, but Google had said that it was not prepared to add more words to its near-empty home page.
The company has relented and now the Google home page contains the word 'privacy' near the bottom and beside the copyright notice. The word is a link to a page containing all Google's privacy information.
Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, said that Page and Brin told her that the link could be put on the home page only if another word was taken off.
"Google values our users' privacy first and foremost. Trust is the basis of everything we do, so we want you to be familiar and comfortable with the integrity and care we give your personal data," said Mayer in a Google blog post. "We added this link both to our homepage and to our results page to make it easier for you to find information about our privacy principles."
"Larry and Sergey told me we could only add this to the homepage if we took a word away - keeping the "weight" of the homepage unchanged at 28 [words]," she said. "Given that the new Privacy link fit best with legal disclaimers on the page, I looked to the copyright line. There, we dropped the word "Google" (realizing it was implied, obviously) and added the new privacy link alongside it."
The company has faced significant pressure over the issue. A coalition of US privacy and consumer groups wrote an open letter to the company earlier this year outlining its case that the link is a legal requirement.
In Europe, the Article 29 Working Party, an independent European advisory body on data protection and privacy, interpreted Europe's data protection regime as requiring such a link.
It published an opinion in April 2008 that said: "most internet users are unaware of the large amounts of data that are processed about their search behaviour, and of the purposes they are being used for".
"If they are not aware of this processing they are unable to make informed decisions about it. The obligation to inform individuals about the processing of their data is one of the fundamental principles of the Data Protection Directive," it said.
Google's privacy chief Peter Fleischer told OUT-LAW last year why the company had not changed its home page to include such a link.