How Google makes your digital lifestyle safer and more secure

(Press Release)

Google reiterates its commitment to keep people safe and secure online with products that not only put people in control of their data but also through responsible data practices and delivering some of the most advanced security technology in the industry.

“Privacy has always been a priority at Google. In 2020, we saw searches for ‘online privacy’ grow by more than 50% and in the same year, 81% of consumers said that they’ve become more concerned with how their data is used,” said Greg Fair, Product Manager, Privacy and Data Protection at Google. “We recognize that data and transparency are of utmost importance to our customers and as expectations about privacy evolve, we at Google continue to ensure that people are aware of what data is collected, how it is used, and how they can stay in control.”


Putting people in control of their data and experience

Google provides helpful and personalized experiences through data that has been authorized by end-users to be sent to Google. Google Maps, for instance, uses data to help people remember places they’ve been and provide personalized information such as nearby or recommended restaurants.

Across Google services, the company uses anonymized user data to personalize and improve products and make them better for everyone. For example, when people navigate with Google Maps, aggregate location data can be used to understand traffic conditions on roads all over the world.

People are always in control of their data.  At any point, they can choose to turn off their location history or choose to have it be automatically deleted after 3 or 18 months.


Building privacy by design in all products

Google’s products and services are built with privacy and security by design. For instance, Google Assistant is made to wait in standby mode until commanded by “Hey Google” or “OK Google”, while audio retention and saving of data are turned off by default. Mobile phone owners are also provided with controls to turn off cameras and mics and are provided with a clear visual indicator (like flashing dots on top of a device or an on-screen indicator) when active.

Google Assistant is designed to provide transparency and control for screenless experiences. Google Home lets people ask questions like “What data does Google collect?” and gives a direct answer. Other privacy-related actions like “Delete what I just said” or “That wasn’t for you” deletes the most recent Assistant activity. It can also delete audio recordings for specific timeframes (up to two weeks) through commands like “Delete what I said this week” or “Delete my activity from today”.

The My Activity tool can also be used to view or delete data that is collected from interactions with Assistant.


Personalizing ads without using sensitive information

Search only provides ads related to a person’s Search query. This helps Google personalize ads so they’re more useful and relevant. Private data such as email content, photos, documents, or sensitive information like health, race, religion, or sexual orientation are never used to personalize ads.

Search ads are marked with labels like ‘ad’ or ‘sponsored’.  If there are no useful ads related to a person’s search query, Google won’t show any ads at all. Advertisers are only charged once customers click on the ad.


Delivering advanced security technology

Google protects customers’ data through industry-leading security technologies that automatically block a wide range of security threats, including attempts to obtain personal information.

After recently phasing out third-party cookies, Google confirmed that it will no longer be building alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will the company use them in its products. Instead, Google’s web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.

Google constantly ensures that ad experiences are safe on their platforms by continually innovating, collaborating with the industry, and building towards a more privacy-focused, and healthy ads industry.