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Security & privacy

Google is simplifying privacy controls

It’s funny how a massive security lapse can make a Silicon Valley tech giant squirm. This isn’t about Facebook, although the social media platform with 2.2 billion users has had its share of security problems the past few months.

You might remember that hackers were able to access tens of millions of accounts. The problem is, they were able to access your account like it was their own.

Now, we’re talking about Google, the search giant whose sites like YouTube and Gmail are used by billions of people. Google had its own massive security headache this year and, worse, they blundered the damage control by hiding the problem for months.

Their social media platform Google+ exposed around 500,000 users’ private information to hackers. Google quietly fixed the problem in March, but revealed the problem in October!

Google recently shut down Google+ following this security mess. Google also got into hot water when it was revealed that they can track your location, even when you have its location tracking turned off!

Google is giving you more control over your privacy

Google is making it easier to control your privacy and the advertising you see on Google sites. You can now control your privacy settings in Google search.

Go to the menu on the upper-left side of the Google search page on your smartphone. Click on “Your data in Search.”

You’ll see several options to clear your data, your recent activity and locations that you searched for on Maps. Google collects an incredible amount of information about you like your physical location and recordings of your voice.

You will also see options to “Delete your Search activity,” including searches in the last hour and all your searches. You can turn certain features like voice recording on or off.

You can also control the ads you see directly from search. From the three-line menu on the upper-right side, click “Your data in Search” and scroll down to “Ad Personalization.”

This move is helpful, but realize that Google is trying to cover its backside!

Note: You can also change your privacy settings from your Google account. Go to Google, then click on the menu (box in the upper-right side of the screen with nine dots), then go to Account and then Personal info & privacy.

Click below to listen to Kim talk about Google’s change in her Consumer Tech Update podcast.

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