Google is committed to user trust with comprehensive privacy options

For Google, a company that has built its reputation for organizing information around the world, the latest sales pitch to users is that it will try to do more with less of it.

At the I/O 2022 developer conference on May 11, the tech giant announced a series of privacy measures that says it will help users maintain more control over how their data is used by Google applications and presented to the world through search.

A new change introduced at the conference is the interface of My Ad Center, a hub that allows users to customize the types of ads they see by choosing from a range of topics they’re interested in or choosing fewer ads about a particular area. particular topic.

Screenshot of the My Ad Center interface, via Google

Screenshot of the My Ad Center interface, via Google.

Google says My Ad Center will give users control not only over how their data is used, but also how it affects their web experience.

In another announcement unveiled at the conferenceGoogle said users can request that personal information such as email or address information be removed from search results through a new tool that will be accessible from a user’s Google profile page.

Probably for a conference aimed at developers, some of Google’s major privacy announcements involved changing approaches to software engineering. The safety and security segment of the event, led by Jen Fitzpatrick, Google’s SVP for Core Systems and Experiences, emphasized the concept of “protected computing,” a set of technologies that Google believes represent a transformed approach to where and how data is processed.

In summary, secure computing means processing more data on devices (e.g., Android phones) without being sent to Google’s cloud servers. And when user information is sent to Google’s servers, more of it will be anonymized through techniques such as using differential privacy and edge computing.

Fitzpatrick said the changes were about justifying the trust users place in Google to keep them safe.

“To protect your privacy, we must be strict about building products that are private by design,” she said.

The safety and security presentation included an acknowledgment that user expectations for privacy are changing and that the company needs recognize and adapt to them† It is noteworthy that Google is increasingly trying to prove to users that it can keep at least some of their data out of the hands of the advertisers who use the vast amount majority of the company’s revenue

And under the guiding statement, “Secured by default, private by design,” Google also insists on increasing user security for its products by implementing out-of-the-box additional security measures.

Security announcements made during the I/O event included a number of measures designed to improve user protection for a range of Google products. First, a new account security status icon shows a warning on a user’s profile in all Google apps when security vulnerabilities are identified and directs the user to recommended actions to fix the problem.

And the company will extend two-step verification for accounts with a “Is this you?” notification to phones when a user tries to sign in to a Google account elsewhere on the web.

Phishing protection is also coming to the Google Workspace suite, with the Docs, Sheets, and Slides applications soon to display warning messages about malicious links in documents.

Overall, Google’s security announcements suggest a company that wants to be seen as the center of users’ security vulnerabilities. At an I/O event full of new and creative uses for user data, it’s heartening to see that privacy was by no means forgotten at first glance.


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