Google beefs up security on core products

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Internet search giant Google has added a raft of new security features on its core products.

In a blog post published today, Eric Miraglia, director of product management, privacy and data protection office, says: “Our goal has always been to create products that are simple, helpful, and intuitive.

“It’s no different with privacy and security – managing your data should be just as easy as making a restaurant reservation, or using Maps to find the fastest way back home.”

The company has added security on Maps, YouTube, Assistant as well as password.

The announcement follows the increased scrutiny facing big technology companies by several governments across the world.

“Earlier this year, we started rolling out more ways for you to protect your data, including making our controls easier to access, new ways to use Google apps with Incognito mode, and options to automatically delete data like your location history, searches, and other activity with Google,” says Miraglia.

“Making these controls consistent across our core products will help them become more familiar, and we hope, even easier to use.”

Incognito mode in Maps

Google says Incognito mode has been one of its most popular privacy controls since it launched with Chrome in 2008.

The company added it to YouTube earlier this year, and now is now rolling it out in Google Maps.

“When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalise your Maps experience,” says Miraglia.

“You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo, and you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalised experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you. Incognito mode will start rolling out on Android this month, with iOS coming soon.”

Auto-delete on YouTube

In May, Googe says it announced that users could automatically delete their location history and Web & app activity, which includes things they've searched and browsed.

“We promised to bring this to more products, and now we're bringing Auto-delete to YouTube History. Set the time period to keep your data – three months, 18 months, or until you delete it, just like location history and Web & App Activity – and we’ll take care of the rest,” Miraglia notes.

Assistant controls

“We’re adding new ways to easily understand and manage your data in the Assistant,” says Google.

“First, when you ask questions like ‘Hey Google, how do you keep my data safe?’ the Assistant will share information about how we keep your data private and secure.

“We’re also making it easier to control your privacy with simple voice commands. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to delete Assistant activity from your Google Account just by saying things like ‘Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you’ or ‘Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.’ You won't need to turn on any of these features – they will work automatically when you ask the Assistant for help.

“If you ask to delete more than a week’s worth of data from your account, the Assistant will point you directly to the page in your account settings to complete the deletion. We’re rolling this out in English next week, and in all other languages next month.”

Password security

The Internet search company points out that protecting privacy online requires strong security, and that’s why it protects data.

“Tools like our Security Checkup help users by automatically detecting potential security issues with your Google Account and make it easy for you to add extra protections to keep your account safe, like removing old devices or unused apps that still have access to your account,” Miraglia.

“But we also want to help protect you across the Internet, and a big part of that is helping you remember passwords for your other online accounts. With so many accounts, bad habits like using the same password across multiple services are common, and make all of your accounts as vulnerable as the weakest link. If someone steals your password once, then they could access your information across different services using that same password.”

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