The redesigned account page does not offer any additional privacy or security options over those previously offered. Instead, it consolidates all of Google’s privacy and security settings, thus making it easier for a customer to understand and configure those settings.
“Privacy and security are two sides of the same coin: if your information isn’t secure, it certainly can’t be private,” wrote Google Project Manager Guemmy Kim on Google’s blog. “My Account gives you quick access to the settings and tools that help you safeguard your data, protect your privacy, and decide what information is used to make Google services work better for you. It also provides more context to help you understand your options and make the right choices for you.”
The new features include a “Privacy Checkup,” which allows a customer to review and change the information Google uses to personalize the customer’s experience, as well as the information that Google shares with the public.
The Privacy Checkup discloses what information Google saves related to the customer’s web browsing, YouTube viewing, location history, and other data. It also allows the customer to view and change his or her Google advertising settings by allowing a customer to opt out of seeing ads based on his or her interests (while simultaneously reminding the customer that he or she “will still see ads after opting out, they’ll just be less relevant.”)
There is also a “Security Checkup,” which allows the customer to turn on a two-factor authentication, see a list of the devices that have been used to access the Google account, and disable access to certain unsecure apps. The Security Checkup also allows the customer to review the apps and websites that connect to the Google account.
Google also launched an FAQ that answers six key privacy- and security-related questions:
- What data does Google collect?
- What does Google do with the data it collects?
- Does Google sell my personal information?
- What tools do I have to control my Google experience?
- How does Google keep my information safe?
- What can I do to stay safe online?
Google’s blog post also referenced a recent Pew Research Center report that found that only 9% of respondents felt they have “a lot” of control over how their personal information is collected and used. “We want to change that,” Google’s blog stated.
The Pew report further found that:
- Of the six modes of communication included in the poll, there is not one mode where the majority of the respondents felt “very secure” sharing private information;
- 64% of respondents believe the government should do more to regulate advertisers; and
- 81% of parents surveyed say they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the information advertisers learn through their childrens’ online activities.