Mobile Internet

Google Pushing Big Towards User Privacy

Google's logo on a building

In a bid to provide more privacy and also securing the data of its users, Google today said that it is rolling the much-used ‘Incognito Mode’ in Google maps along with features like Password Check-up and Auto delete for YouTube. The features come amidst as the search giant and social media companies face heat from users and regulators globally on how their platforms handle user data.

Incognito Mode for Maps will roll out on Android this month, the company said in a blog today. It builds on Incognito Mode for the Chrome browser, which first launched in 2008, and for the YouTube app, where it appeared earlier this year.

When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalize your Maps experience.

You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo, and you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalized experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you. Incognito mode will start rolling out on Android this month, with iOS coming soon.

Google also announced two other features as part of its privacy rollout this week. For Assistant, users can now ask questions like “Hey Google, how do you keep my data safe?” to be informed of Google’s security protocols. Users can also now ask Google’s Assistant to “delete the last thing I said to you” and “delete everything I said to you last week” to scrub that data from its history. (Google notes that Assistant will point you to the right page if you want to delete data for periods longer than a week.) The feature will begin to roll out next week, first in English, with other languages arriving next month.

For regular YouTube users, the company announced that YouTube users will be able to set their search and viewing histories to auto-delete after a set period. The Company and other tech giants are facing increased scrutiny over the amount of data they collect from their users.

Additionally, Google announced the wider rollout of its Password Checkup tool to help its users better identify potentially compromised credentials—such as those exposed in a data breach—and curb habits that may be putting them at risk, such as reusing passwords or using especially weak passwords. Previously launched as a browser extension, this feature will now be available to users in the Password Manager section of their Google Accounts and will allow them to run a security scan on their usernames and passwords with just a single click. Google also said the feature will eventually get baked right into Chrome, an update we can expect later this year.

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