Internet privacy is a very controversial topic. After recent scrutiny about data collection practices, Google has announced updates to their privacy settings. Personal data will automatically be deleted after 18 months. This includes location data, browsing history, and youtube view history. Users will also be able to also access incognito mode more easily. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai states that “As we design our products, we focus on three important principles: keeping your information safe, treating it responsibly, and putting you in control.”
The updates to Google’s privacy controls have been announced as the world’s largest search engine faces heightened scrutiny on their data collection practices. New privacy laws in California and Europe have prompted internet businesses to adjust their practices over the past two years. As several lawsuits by consumers and US state attorneys general in the past few months have accused Google of deception in data gathering.
This new privacy update will make changes to their date retention practices throughout their core products to ensure the least amount of data is stored as possible and gives the user better control, privacy and security. Google has said it will automatically delete some location history after 18 months for new users and while making it easier for everyone to access their search, Maps and YouTube apps without being tracked at all.
Online privacy is becoming a growing concern these days for people of all ages. Businesses and big companies track your behaviour across websites and platforms to serve you with highly relevant advertisements. But when does this go too far?
It is important to understand where your data is being collected and what it is being used for. Google states that “Every day, data makes our services work better for you. That’s why it’s important that we keep it private and safe – and put you in control.” Through their new privacy update they are aiming to give the user their control back and help them feel safer and more protected online when using their core products.
What does Google’s privacy update mean for users?
Under Google’s privacy update settings, YouTube’s viewing history of users will disappear after 36 months and location tracking and web browsing history will get dropped after 18 months. Users also have the option of choosing shorter or longer timeframes, to give them control over their data being stored and what works best for their preferences. However, Google may still be able to access and store location details in other ways. Users will also be able to more easily search in what Google calls “incognito mode,” by just holding down their profile picture at the top of the search, Maps or YouTube apps. Previously, an additional click in the apps’ menu was required. Google has stated that “We’re also making it easier to access Incognito mode in our most popular apps, by long-pressing on your profile picture in Search, Maps and YouTube. It’s available today on the Google App for iOS, and coming soon to Android and other apps. We’re also working to make it possible to stay in Incognito mode across Google apps, like Maps and YouTube, and will have more to share soon.” This will help users to have a better user experience due to this ease of being able to control what is being tracked and not.
Google gains most of its revenue from ads, which are typically based on data about what users are watching, reading and where they are located. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also acknowledged last year that the company gathers more data than necessary for ads and is committed to minimise their collection through this new privacy update.