This is a smart move — getting things in order before they drop down the same rabbit hole that Facebook did a few weeks ago — with the main objective being to inform users about what data is being collected and where the data is used. Take note Facebook: Google is ahead on this one — focussing mainly on clear, understandable language and visual aids that will help users (hopefully) to understand their data privacy in more depth.
The first clickthrough (starting from this link, if you want a shortcut) will take you to the infamous ‘dashboard’ that has been redesigned for easier navigation and better understanding, because let’s face it, online security and privacy isn’t a class in high school yet, and data fear-mongering in the media doesn’t help. Yeah, Facebook has ‘sold’ countless people’s personal data — that sounds scary and many people will rant on about how untrustworthy the social media platform is now — but do you truly understand what you’re signing up for when eagerly clicking through the Terms and Conditions?
Google wants you to understand, which is why the updates are so important — it simplifies the process down into basic steps that can be accessed from the main category and each step is as important as the last. No need to dig further into the basic settings anymore — and this is what the new GDPR laws are aimed at. They want these companies to make sure that online service users understand the extent of accepting certain terms, and also give them more control over what they would like to share with these companies.
- Simpler structure and clearer language – You should understand what this company is doing with your data and what data they actually have access to.
- New descriptive videos and illustrations – If you have to choose between visuals and words — visuals always win. Nuances and jargon are understood by a minority of internet-users and they need to appeal to a much wider audience.
- Embedded privacy controls – It’s easier to jump to key settings from the main dashboard and menus, to maximise easier navigation.
Why is this so important? Aside from the obvious recent data breaches elsewhere, Google wants their users to know where the data is being used, and its not as scary as you’d expect it to be.
“We collect information to provide better services to all our users – from figuring out basic stuff such as which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful, the people who matter most to you online or which YouTube videos you might like. The information Google collects, and how that information is used, depends on how you use our services and how you manage your privacy controls,” Google’s Privacy and Terms reads.
Again, you have control over which information they use for these developments. A great example of how Google uses data collected via the voice recordings on the Assistant app, is the recently introduced Google Duplex.
The most important point to make here, is that online security is hella important and people should really understand what they sign up for. Google now gives you the ability to inform yourself, understand the implications and make a choice about it — which is where most online services should follow suit.
If online privacy is something you are passionate about, but never really get around to managing on a regular basis, Google also has a new option for you to receive regular emails that prompt you to go and review your privacy settings.