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New Google privacy features fight phishing, scrub search results

Google is taking even more steps to help folks protect their privacy and keep their data secure.

At this year’s Google I/O conference, the company announced several new initiatives that will help folks lock down their Google accounts, remove unwanted information from search results, and control the advertising they see.

Keeping your information safe

Google wants you to know that it has teams working around the clock to combat cyber threats behind the scenes, but it’s also working to help people who use its services do their part to keep their data safe from hackers.

Google Search with San Francisco wallpaper showing Google Account Safety Status icon over profile picture.

This includes a new account safety status warning that will let you know when there are actions you can take to secure your account by showing a simple yellow alert icon on your profile picture when using apps like Gmail, YouTube, or Google Search.

Google Workspace customers will benefit from improved phishing and malware protection and automatic enrolment in two-step verification.

Taking control of your personal info

Google is also introducing two new tools that promise to give people more control over how their personal information can be found and how it’s used by Google’s advertising engine.

While folks can already ask Google to remove specific sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) from Google Search results, such as bank account or credit card numbers, Google is expanding this to include many more types of information. This includes personal contact information such as a phone number, email address, or physical address and any other info that could pose a risk for identity theft that may show up in search results.

Two Android smartphones showing screens for removing personal infromation from Google Search results and cusotmizing ads.

This feature should show up in the Google App in the coming months and can also be accessed by clicking the three dots next to individual Google Search results.

Later this year, Google plans to launch more controls for ad privacy settings. A new My Ad Center will give people more control over what kind of ads show up on YouTube and Google Search. You’ll be able to choose which brands you want to see more or less of, whether you want ads to be personalized based on what Google knows about you, and even the types of ads you prefer to see, such as fitness, vacation rentals, or skincare. Google will also provide more transparency about how it decides which ads to show you.

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