Google improves user data transparency and control ahead of GDPR

Future Business

With onset of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just two weeks away, Google has outlined the steps it has taken to ensure that users' data is protected under the new privacy laws.

To bring the company into compliance with the GDPR, the Google privacy policy has gotten a refresh and some new data tools. The policy now also includes explanatory videos and illustrations, because a visual description can be easier to understand than text alone.

It's worth noting that absolutely nothing is changing in your settings or the kind of data Google collects on you.

Additionally, Google said that it is making it easier to port your Google data to other services, for example to transfer photos from Google Photos to other online photo repositories. "You can control what information we use to show you ads by visiting your ad settings". The new policy is now live, and ahead of the GDPR going into force on May 25th, Google is sending emails to every single one of its billions of users.

This isn't the only change, though.

As part of our GDPR compliance efforts, we've improved both the controls and the clarity of information in My Account so that people are better informed about how and why their data is collected. Users can choose to permanently delete specific activities, or days of activity that they do not want connected to their account. That could include your location history, web and app activity, YouTube search history, and more. Using My Activity, you can view or delete history, "including search history, location history, browsing history".

Now, at least, it's easier to understand what they're doing with the data and, if you don't like it, to opt out.

PSNC referenced a blog from information commissioner Elizabeth Denham in which she said: "If you can demonstrate that you have the appropriate systems and thinking in place, you will find the ICO to be a proactive and pragmatic regulator aware of business needs and the real world".

"As we evolve our products over time, we'll continue to improve our Privacy Program and the protections we offer to users", the post stated.