Googles New My Account Page
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Google's new 'my account' page has changed the way in which users previously managed their privacy and security settings.
View and alter your 'Sign-in and Security' settings, your Personal Info and Privacy' and your 'Account Preferences' in Google's new central hub. The new layout and approach should enable users to easily identify the tools they want enabled and the ones they wish to opt out of. It aims to be clear about what data is being gathered about users by providing more background information, which should theoretically make the account settings less ambiguous and therefore easier to control.
Despite concerns surrounding the Google's recent changes, and in particular the less than neutral language used, it is being dubbed a 'smart move' by experts and public alike, since the multinational company frequently comes under scrutiny for its data collection and usage practices.
Privacy International company, who research and campaign against privacy intrusions by government and businesses, commented “we cautiously welcome the step that Google has taken today. At long last, it is being more forthcoming with users about the information Google retains about them", said Dr Richard Tynan, a technologist at Privacy International.
There are many improvements Google has made to aid users, for instance, the 'privacy checkup' wizard will run you through settings such as whether Web and account activity are being monitored, or whether you want to keep a YouTube 'watch' history. They've also included a quick access to its Ad Settings tool as well, which gives you the freedom to tailor ads or opt out of personalised ads altogether.
Along with Google's new 'My Account' page, they've also introduced a new website that provides frequently asked questions along with answers about the company's privacy practices. You'll find questions such as 'What does Google do with the data it collects?' and 'How does Google keep my information safe?' at privacy.google.com. By providing all of this extra information, users who are concerned should feel more at ease. They now have the ability to read up about and turn off what data controls they aren't comfortable with.
With all of the above being said, it has been noted that the changes only affect information associated with an individual's account, so there are still concerns regarding the data collected by all users of Google, whether or not they're signed up with Google or not. Knowing exactly what data Google collects about all of us, what they could potentially do with it and how we can know to the extent of what they do know about our daily lives and interests should be incessantly worrying to us all.
What do you think about Google's new direction to tackle concerns over the way they handle users' personal data? Should we, and do you, trust them with your personal data?