It seems like a new data privacy scandal crops up every day for some major tech company or another (okay, mostly Facebook) — but Google is working to opt out of that pattern. The tech giant has announced that it is building data privacy controls — and clear explanations of what it does with user data — into Search itself, on both desktop and mobile. Additionally, it notes that it'll give the same treatment to Maps next year, along with "many other Google products."
The change comes not long after a mini-scandal erupted over poor wording on Google's support page regarding how and when it tracks users' location data. The company's plan for this new tool is to educate its users on what it does with their data. It even made a little video explainer for the page (below) that advertises for the benefits of Google's data collection. You can access this new dedicated section just under settings in the hamburger menu at the top of the Google Search app. On desktop, you can find this section in the settings menu on the bottom right hand corner of the site.
Within this new educational tool, users can review and delete Search activity (either the last hour, or all activity) and quickly access relevant privacy controls within their Google Account. The two toggles placed prominently on the page are "Web & App Activity," which saves activity on Google sites, apps, and services, and "Voice and Audio Activity," which saves a recording of your voice and audio input that Google uses to recognize your voice. Underneath, there's a link to go visit more activity controls.
Before today, the best way to review and manage your Google Search data was through visiting your Google Account — this update makes everything easier to access and more transparent.
Google is launching the new features on desktop and mobile web as of today, and in the Google app for iOS and Android in the coming weeks.