Whether it’s delivering search results in the correct language or recommending the quickest route home, data can make Google products more helpful to you. And you should be able to understand and manage your data—and make privacy choices that are right for you. That’s why easy-to-use privacy features and controls have always been built into our products. At I/O, we announced a number of additional privacy and security tools across our products and platforms:
Making it easier to control your data
One-tap access to your Google Account from all our major products
Privacy controls should be easy to find and use. A few years ago, we introduced Google Account to provide a comprehensive view of the information you’ve shared and saved with Google, and one place to access your privacy and security settings. Simple on/off controls let you decide which activity you want to save to your account to make Google products more helpful. You can also choose which activities or categories of information you want to delete.
As the number of Google products has grown, we’re making it even easier to find these controls. Today you’ll see your Google Account profile picture appear in the top right corner across products like Gmail, Drive, Contacts and Pay. To quickly access your privacy controls, just tap on your picture and follow the link to your Google Account. The prominent placement of your profile picture also makes it easier to know when you’re signed into your Google Account. We’re bringing this one-tap access to more products this month, including Search, Maps, YouTube, Chrome, the Assistant and News.
Easily manage your data in Search, Maps and the Assistant
Last year, we made it easier for you to make decisions about your data directly within Search. Without leaving Search, you can review and delete your recent Search activity, get quick access to the most relevant privacy controls in your Google Account, and learn more about how Search works with your data. Now we’re making it easier to manage your data in Maps, the Assistant and YouTube (coming soon). For example, you'll be able to review and delete your location activity data directly in Google Maps, and then quickly get back to your directions.
Auto-delete now available for Web & App Activity, coming soon to Location History
Last week we announced a new control that lets you choose a time limit for the amount of time your Location History and Web & App Activity data will be saved—3 or 18 months. Any data older than that will be automatically and continuously deleted from your account if you choose. This new control is available today for Web & App Activity and coming next month to Location History.
Bringing Incognito mode to Google apps
Since launching more than a decade ago, Incognito mode in Chrome has given you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device. As our phones become the primary way we access the internet, we thought it was important to build Incognito mode for our most popular apps. It’s available in YouTube and coming soon to Maps and Search. Tap from your profile picture to easily turn it on or off. When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your activity—like the places you search or get directions to—won’t be saved to your Google Account.
Building stronger privacy controls into our platforms
We also made announcements today about privacy across our platforms and products: Android Q is bringing privacy to the forefront of Settings and creating more transparency and control around location. Chrome announced plans to more aggressively restrict fingerprinting across the web and improve cookie controls. Finally, we announced plans to give users more visibility into the data used to personalize ads and the companies involved in the process for the ads that Google shows on our own properties and those of our publishing partners.
Doing more for users with less data
Federated learning makes products more helpful while keeping data on your device
Advances in machine learning are making our privacy protections stronger. One example is federated learning, a new approach to machine learning. It allows developers to train AI models and make products smarter—for you and everyone else—without your data ever leaving your device. These new AI techniques allow us to do more with less data.
Gboard, Google’s keyboard, now uses federated learning to improve predictive typing as well as emoji prediction across tens of millions of devices. Previously, Gboard would learn to suggest new words for you, like “zoodles” or “Targaryen”, only if you typed them several times. Now, with federated learning, Gboard can also learn new words after thousands of people start using them, without Google ever seeing what you’re typing.
We’ve also invested in differential privacy protections, which enable us to train machine learning models without memorizing information that could reveal specific details about a user. We published early research on this topic in 2014, and since then we’ve used it in Chrome, in Gmail with Smart Compose, and in Google Maps to show you how busy a restaurant is. And with the release of the TensorFlow Privacy open-source project, ML developers can now more easily use differential privacy technology.
The strongest security across our products and platforms
Your data is not private if it’s not secure. We’ve always invested in systems to keep our users safe—from our Safe Browsing protection that protects nearly 4 billion devices every day to blocking more than 100 million spam and phishing attempts in Gmail every day. Security keys provide the strongest form of 2-Step Verification phishing protection and now they’ll be built into all phones running on Android 7.0 and above, making it available to over one billion compatible devices.
And beginning this summer, anyone with a Nest Account will have the option to migrate their Nest Account to a Google Account, which comes with the added benefits of tools and automatic security protections, like 2-Step Verification, notifications that proactively alert you about unusual account activity and access to Security Checkup.
We strongly believe that privacy and security are for everyone. We’ll continue to ensure our products are safe, invest in technologies that allow us to do more for users with less data, and empower everyone with clear, meaningful choices around their data.
Posted by Eric Miraglia, Director of Product Management, Privacy and Data Protection Office