Google Unveils Several New Security and Privacy Features
A new Password Checkup feature will inform users if any of their passwords are weak or at risk.
Google has announced the roll-out of several new privacy and security features for its core products, including Google Assistant, YouTube and Google Maps.
The announcement coincides with the start of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the US and comes amid a period of criticism over the the company’s data practices. Google, along with a number of other technology giants, has been subject to intense scrutiny over the volumes of data it collects, as well as how the data is used and managed.
In a blog post, Google’s Eric Miraglia said: “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, searchers, and other activity with Google.
“Making these controls consistent across our core products will help them become more familiar, and we hope, even easier to use.”
Miraglia revealed the company will launch a new incognito mode for maps, which is set to be launched on Android later this month. The incognito mode for Google Maps was first announced by the company at the Google I/O developer conference in May and will function in a similar fashion to incognito on Chrome browser – which doesn’t record activity which is used to personalise user experiences.
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“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, ” Miraglia explained.
Google hasn’t given a clear indication on when this new feature will be available on iOS, but Miraglia said it is “coming soon” to the operating system.
For YouTube, changes are also expected. Users will now be able to auto-delete their viewing and search histories after a set period. The company added an incognito mode for the app last year.
Miraglia said: “Set the time period to keep your data – 3 months, 18 months, or until you delete it, just like Location History and Web & App Activity – and we’ll take care of the rest.”
Users may also find it easier to wipe voice commands or queries with Google Assistant following the updates. With the new updates, users can simply say “Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you” or “delete everything I said to you last week”.
Deleting more than one week’s worth of Assistant commands or questions won’t be as easy, however. Instead, Assistant will point users to the relevant page in account settings to complete the bulk deletion.
This feature will be rolled out in English from next week, with other languages set for the update next month.
Password security is also set for a revamp through the new Password Checkup feature. This feature will inform users if any of their passwords are weak or at risk, as well as whether or not they have been used across multiple websites.
Similarly, if a user’s particular password has been compromised in any capacity, the feature will inform them and recommend they take action.
“We’re introducing the Password Checkup, a new feature that – with one click – tells you if any of your passwords are weak, whether you’ve reused them across multiple sites, or if we’ve discovered they’ve been compromised (for example, in a third-party data breach),” Miraglia said.