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 would help users maintain greater control over how their data is used by Google applications and presented to the world through searches.
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.
Google says My Ad Center will not only give users control over how their data is used, but also how it affects their experience on the web.
In another announcement unveiled at the conference, Google 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 about privacy are changing and the company has a need 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 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 Android 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.