Google lifts curtain on data collection

Launches today, Google’s My Account website seeks to give users a unified view of their security and privacy settings and account preferences, and answer questions about the collection and sale of user data.

Under attack, especially in Europe, for its approach to privacy, Google hopes the my account initiative will provide context to help users understand their options. According to Google’s official blog, My Account will help users:

  • Take the Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, our simple, step-by-step guides through your most important privacy and security settings.
  • Manage the information that can be used from Search, Maps, YouTube and other products to enhance your experience on Google. For example, you can turn on and off settings such as Web and App Activity, which gets you more relevant, faster search results, or Location History, which enables Google Maps and Now to give you tips for a faster commute back home.
  • Use the Ads Settings tool to control ads based on your interests and the searches you’ve done.
  • Control which apps and sites are connected to your account.

There are links enabling users to opt out of Google’s interest-based ads, both on Google and across the web. 

According to My Account, Google collects “information based on the things you do, so we can make our services work better for you.” It uses data to show “relevant and useful ads.” Although Google uses data to target ads, it does not sell or share information in a way that “personally identifies” users–“unless you gave us permission.” 

From google.com–as well as from other portals like gmail.com, My Account is accessed by clicking on the “Account” link which appears when users click on their user name.

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