Internet privacy has been a hot topic lately in tech circles, but it’s applications have been lacking. The problem has chiefly been that the most sturdy privacy protections require almost expert know-how on how to enact them.
Google, with a series of major privacy initiatives announced recently, hopes to change that.
Two new privacy controls coming to Google
The Mountain View, California-based company says it wants to empower users by making their online experiences more robust — and safe — on its platform.
New privacy controls like bringing its “Incognito” mode to Google Maps and YouTube search are a start.
But as of now, here are the two privacy tools we’re most excited about:
Google’s new auto-delete feature is coming soon to mobile and PC applications. The feature lets users set a time for Google to save or delete their search and location history.
In a May 1 blog post, Google said, “Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved — 3 or 18 months — and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis.”
“These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks.”
Improved cookie controls
Google also is implementing new cookie controls to build confidence in user privacy on its platform.
Cookies, the means by which internet sites track users around the web, have become problematic as they record your every move online and endanger your privacy.
“We are making a number of upcoming changes to Chrome to enable these features, starting with modifying how cookies work so that developers need to explicitly specify which cookies are allowed to work across websites — and could be used to track users,” Google says on its Chromium blog.
“This change also has a significant security benefit for users, protecting cookies from cross-site injection and data disclosure attacks like Spectre and CSRF by default.”
The change means that Google could soon stop cross-site cookies from storing our information, a very problematic issue in an age of privacy.
As with anything great, many of these changes won’t be seen immediately. The company says it will progressively roll out the new privacy measures so that they are compatible with Google’s latest Pixel smartphone and Android Q, the company’s forthcoming OS.