For Google, a company that has built its reputation for organizing global information, the latest sales presentation to users is that it will try to do more with less of it.
At its I / O 2022 programmer conference on May 11, the tech giant has announced a range of privacy measures that it says will help users retain more control over how their data is used by Google applications and shown to the world by search.
One new change introduced at the conference is the My Ad Center interface: a hub that will allow users to customize the types of ads they see by choosing from a range of topics they are interested in or choose to see fewer ads on a specific topic.
Google says that My Ad Center will help give users control not only about how their data is used but also how it affects their experience on the web.
In another announcement revealed at the conferenceGoogle has said that users will be able to request that personal information such as email or address details be removed from search results by a new tool that will be accessible from a Google user profile page.
Perhaps expected for a developer-led conference, some of Google’s most significant privacy announcements have involved changing approaches to software engineering. The security and safety 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 says represent a transformed approach to where and how data is processed.
In short, protected computing means that more data will be processed 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 will be anonymized by techniques such as the use of different privacy and edge computing.
Fitzpatrick said the changes were about justifying the trust users place in Google to keep them safe.
“Protecting your privacy requires that we be rigorous in building products that are private by design,” she said.
The presentation on security and safety included acknowledging that users ’expectations of privacy are changing and that the company needs to 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 bring the vast. majority of the company’s revenue.
And under the guiding statement, “safe by default, private by design”, Google is also pushing to strengthen user safety through its products by implementing additional security measures out of the box.
Security announcements made at the I / O event included a number of resources intended to increase user protections across a range of Google products. First, a new account security status icon will display a warning on the user’s profile across all Google applications when certain security issues are identified and direct the user to recommended actions to correct the problem.
And the company will expand a two-step confirmation for accounts by sending “Is this you?” notification to phones when a user tries to sign in to a Google Account elsewhere on the web.
Phishing protection will also come to the Google Workspace suite, with the Documents, Sheets, and Slides apps coming soon to display warning notifications about malicious links in documents.
In general, Google’s security announcements suggest a company that wants to be viewed as focusing on users’ security concerns. At an I / O event full of new and creative uses of user data, it is encouraging to see that, in the face of things, privacy has never been forgotten.