Google Announces New Privacy Options for Maps, YouTube, and More
Google needs our data to run its business, but it’s not going to get it unless people trust the company has good intentions. Naturally, Google has always tried to give us some control over what happens to our personal info, and it’s expanding that control today. New privacy features are coming to YouTube, Maps, passwords, and Google Assistant in honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Google Maps is one of Google’s most popular products, and the things you search for and interact with inform Google’s algorithm. What if you don’t want your Maps activity to become part of your digital profile? There’s a new Incognito Mode in Maps that keeps your activity private.
Similar to Incognito in Chrome or YouTube, the Incognito Maps lets you browse without logging anything. The places you check out during that session won’t affect your Maps recommendations, and perhaps more importantly, Google won’t keep any record of that activity. The feature will come to Android this month, and iOS will get it “soon” after.
YouTube got Incognito Mode earlier this year, and now Microsoft is adding more privacy granularity with automatic activity deletion. So, you can keep Incognito disabled and not have to worry about your YouTube history following you forever. You can choose to have your YouTube watch history deleted after three months, 18 months, or when you manually trigger deletion.
Google spends a lot of time focusing on plugging Assistant into its products these days, and that means Assistant itself is a repository of a lot of personal information. So, Assistant will soon have additional privacy controls enabled by default. You can simply ask Assistant to delete things with commands like, “Delete the last thing I said,” or “Delete everything I said to you last week.” If you want to delete more than a week of data, Assistant will link you to the account settings page where you can confirm that action. The new Assistant privacy controls will roll out in English next week and in other languages next month.
Lastly, Google continues its crusade against poor password security. The Google password manager (that thing you can access without a password) will get a new checkup feature that tells you when you’ve got reused, compromised, or weak passwords. This feature will roll out later in 2019.