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Security & privacy

Change this privacy setting in Google to share less of your data

You have tons of options when it comes to email services. It can be tough to narrow down which one works best for you — especially since they all offer different features.

Gmail has been the go-to for many thanks to an easy-to-navigate interface and simple chat feature. But while Gmail may be one of the top email choices, Google is notorious for collecting tons of user data. This massive tech company tracks almost everything users do, search for or use.

The automatic data gathering that occurs in Gmail is going to change shortly, though. Google is rolling out new smart features that will change the way you look at this email service. If you’re concerned about the data collection that comes with using Gmail, you’re going to want to know about these changes.

Smart features coming to Gmail

Google announced on its blog recently some new changes to Gmail. These changes will give Gmail users more control over the data gathering done by apps like Gmail, Chat and Meet.

Gmail users will be able to opt out of having their data used by the smart features in Gmail and Gmail-associated apps. This includes automatic email filtering and categorization, Smart Compose, summary cards and automatic calendar entries.

These smart features, which can give you directions in Google Maps to your restaurant reservations or summaries of your emails, are admittedly handy for users. Who doesn’t want to get automatic directions to where you’re having lunch with a colleague?

But while these features are useful, they also gather a ton of data and hand it over to Google, which is less than ideal. There have been concerns for years about the volume of data Google is gathering on users, and most people want to limit that whenever possible.

Gmail users have always had the option to toggle these features on or off, but the new update will also disable the background data processing that makes them possible. This gives Gmail users the option to fully and completely opt out of smart feature data processing while using Gmail and Gmail-associated apps.

There’s a downside, though. While this will stop your data from being used by Google, users who opt out of the data processing for smart features won’t be able to use any of the smart features offered in Gmail or the other apps.

You will have the option to limit data gathering by Gmail, Chat and Meet that powers other Google products, too. This includes data that powers the Assistant, which displays bill due date reminders and other important information along with Google Maps and GPay’s loyalty cards and tickets.

Related: Tap or click here for a list of Google alternatives

According to Google, the settings changes were “designed to reduce the work of understanding and managing that process, in view of what we’ve learned from user experience research and regulators’ emphasis on comprehensible, actionable user choices over data.” In other words, they’re meant to give you more control over whether your data is gathered and used by Google.

When will these new changes roll out?

According to Google, these changes aren’t active for all Gmail users just yet, but will be in the “coming weeks.”

If you opt out of any of these features, you can always enable them again in Gmail’s settings. However, you won’t be able to enable or disable any of the features individually.

You won’t be able to toggle it on for Smart Compose but turn off the data processing for summary cards or calendar entries, for example. It’s all or nothing because these features are all powered by the same data.

Hopefully, these privacy changes will actually work. Google has been known to collect data on users even when it’s not supposed to. Tap or click here for a recent example.

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