Google Offers Up Better Privacy & Security Controls

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just press a button to make sure every company you interact with online respects your privacy and security? Unfortunately, many companies prefer instead to make you press many buttons, and they've scattered them across multiple pages to make it even harder to press all of them. Google wants to simplify things with a new Google Account "experience" that makes it easier to protect your data.

The good news is that Google said this new "experience" will make it easier to navigate your account, privacy, and security options. It will also show relevant information--"your personal info, your devices, payment methods, purchases, subscriptions, reservations, and contacts"--associated with your account. Google also made changes specifically to how you can handle your privacy and security options:

"We know that when it comes to data and privacy, one size does not fit all. 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. You can now more easily find your Activity controls in the Data & Personalization tab and choose what types of activity data are saved in your account to make Google work better for you."

The new Google Account options will also let you search for settings, communicate with support staff, and take the Privacy Checkup that debuted last year. All of these changes should make it easier than ever to find out exactly what Google knows about you and how you can manage that information. It still isn't a one-button solution, but it's better than having to dig through several menus in hope of finding the setting you're after.

There is some bad news (of course), and it's that Google isn't making these improvements available to everyone right away. The company said the new Google Account should be available to Android users now, but it won't reach iOS devices or the web until "later this year." That means you're only going to see the benefit of these changes if you've bought into Google's platform; everyone else has to wait, possibly for several months.

Google's announcement comes as many companies rush to support the GDPR rules that went into effect in May. This update doesn't appear to be related--companies were supposed to comply with the new rules by May 25--but it fits nicely with other efforts that were inspired by the regulations. The EU's advocacy for privacy has started a ripple effect that everyone (besides the companies themselves, perhaps) should benefit from.

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