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Controlling Google's Data Privacy Settings

It's no secret that Google keeps track of a lot of what people do online. Monitoring includes everything from tracking location data, web browser history, and app activity to sending tailored adverts and keeping track of purchase histories through email content.

Google argues that its data collecting procedures and regulations improve the user experience by allowing users to locate almost exactly what they're looking for quickly and then presenting the most relevant results. Google users, on the other hand, are wary of what the business does with their information.

Google's (and Apple's) proposal to give Coronavirus contact tracing apps to assist curb the virus' spread is a good example of user data privacy concerns. According to a Washington Post–University of Maryland poll, “nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they are either unable or unwilling to use the infection-alert system under development by Google and Apple,” implying that convincing enough people to use the app to make it effective against the coronavirus pandemic will be difficult.

Google takes user data privacy seriously, making its position on data protection public and providing web tools to assist users to choose what data they wish to be saved and tracked.

In a New York Times opinion editorial, Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, says, "To make privacy real, we give you clear, meaningful choices around your data, all while staying true to two unequivocal policies: that Google will never sell any personal information to third parties; and that you get to decide how your information is used."

Google's privacy objective further declares that "privacy must be a luxury good available only to those who can afford premium products and services," and that "data privacy must be equally accessible worldwide."

Changing Google's Privacy Options

Google's online security and privacy technologies are always changing and improving for its users. External dangers such as phishing emails, spam, malware, and viruses are detected and blocked by the company's security solutions. Users can choose their desired privacy settings across a variety of products and services through the Google Safety Center.

Google's privacy controls are also simple to use, allowing users to select their privacy preferences from within their accounts. A user's Google Dashboard, Ad Settings, and My Activity sections can all be tweaked to provide transparency for data collected across a variety of Google services.

Google Activity Controls store user activity on Google sites and apps, such as location information for faster and more relevant searches, personalized suggestions, and experiences across apps like Google Maps and Search. When it comes to location tracking, Google stores where users travel with their devices in order to deliver customized maps and recommendations based on visited locations, whether they're using a Google app or running background programs on a device.

Google records Chrome's history and activity across sites, apps, and devices when it comes to web browsing. Chrome tracks, including the storage and monitoring of speech and audio recordings, can be switched on or off. Google also keeps track of which YouTube videos are watched and searched for more accurate recommendations, as well as remembering where viewers left off watching a video so that it can be served as a recommendation at a later time.
Here you can change the privacy settings for YouTube videos.

Individual user purchase histories can also be altered and monitored here, as they are tracked via Gmail. This Google support article explains how all purchases for a user are derived from orders placed through Google services such as the Google Play Store, Google Express, Google Assistant, and even purchase and reservation receipts from third-party websites. The data associated with purchases can be removed, but the service cannot be turned off. Finally, Google provides users power over their mobile and Internet of Things devices by allowing them to adjust their privacy settings.

Google Adwords Privacy Settings

Google's business model is around ads, and the cash earned from adverts allows Google to provide its services for free. All of the information gathered by Google is used to target adverts that consumers view on their devices and on websites.

Google Ad personalization, on the other hand, allows consumers to choose which ads they see, making them more relevant and personalized to their unique interests. While personal information is not sold to third parties, Google Ads can be turned off or on from specific advertisers, and user data can be used or prohibited for not only Google products, but also partner websites and mobile apps.

Advertisers do not use personally identifying information or third parties, according to the company. In addition to basic information like user age, gender, and location, Google says it may use data from searches and locations, websites and apps, videos, and advertisements.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that Google collects and stores a large quantity of user data such as private web browser histories, searches, and location data, the business also provides a number of tools to help people manage their data. As with all cloud services, the user shares responsibility for security and data privacy, as data privacy is not a "luxury good" but a universal right.

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