Google Account gets security and privacy refresh on Android, including clearer layout and new search feature | Tech News

Google has announced a handful of updates to its security and privacy dashboard, which it said is designed to help users “more easily navigate” their Google Account and find the controls to manage and fine-tune their privacy settings.

The new interface is officially launching from today on Android, though it has actually been rolling out gradually before now as noted by some online reports. The company said that the refreshed interface will be landing on the web and iOS later this year.

How it looks

The new layout is designed to better present existing information, and is based on Google’s Material Design language.

You’ll see four tabs along the bottom — Account, Search, Support, and Menu. The main Account section is where you’ll find your personal information (name, birthday, contact info, phone number, etc), while the Data & Personalization tab is where you can control all facets of your privacy such as location history, web activity, YouTube Watch history, and more. There’s also a Security tab, where you can review security issues, while there are additional People & Sharing and Payments & Subscriptions tabs.

Above: Google Account: New layout

Digging down into the security section you’ll be able to see alerts highlighting things you can do to improve your Google Account security — it may recommend that you remove an account from an old Android device, for example, if you haven’t used it in a while. It will also tell you whether 2-step verification is on or off.

Above: Security issues

Rather than requiring users to click, scroll, and peruse multiple different tabs to find what they want, Google has introduced a new search function where you can manually type in keywords to find a specific thing you’re looking for, such as “purchases,” “payment methods,” or “saved passwords.” It also features a dedicated support page which links to Google forums where you can ask questions.

Above: Google Account: Finding information

This latest update comes three years after Google first introduced its My Account dashboard, with the promise of better privacy and security controls. However, consumer privacy and security has reemerged as a major talking point once more as a result of a number of high-profile stories, including the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandal. And that is why we’ve seen an uptick in technology companies pushing out new security features lately — Mozilla launched a new add-on to isolate Facebook from your normal web browsing, for example.

Google has largely escaped the fallout from the Facebook data privacy scandal, but it’s all too aware that it has to keep its finger on the pulse and proactively position itself as a defender of user privacy.

“We know that when it comes to data and privacy, one size does not fit all,” noted Google Account product manager Jan Hannemann, in a blog post. “To help you better understand and take control of your Google Account, we’ve made all your privacy options easy to review with our new intuitive, user-tested design.”

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