Soon, all you’ll need to do is Google yourself if you’re wondering how deeply Google has been digging into your digital life.
In coming weeks, a shortcut to personal account information will appear at the top of Google’s search results whenever logged-in users enter their own names in the query box.
The feature is part of an update to the “My Account” hub that Google introduced a year ago to make it easier for people to manage the privacy and security controls on the internet company’s services. While Google isn’t making any additional information available, it is making it easier to find.
“When you entrust your data to Google, you should expect powerful security and privacy controls,” Google said in a blog.
“These features are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your personal information. We’ll continue to make updates based on your feedback.”
The link to personal accounts will appear at the top right of the listings for searches done on personal computers and at the top of requests entered on smartphones.
Google is making the change because it learned that many users doing a “vanity search” under their name wanted a quicker way to find out what the company knew about them, as well as to see how they are depicted on various sites across the internet, said Guemmy Kim, a Google product manager.
A new feature on Google’s mobile app will also quickly take users to their account information with a spoken request. All that will be required are the words: “OK Google, show me my Google account.” This option initially will only be available in English.
People have become more interested in managing their digital profiles as a confluence of search engines, smartphones and online social networks makes it easier to track where they are, what they’re doing and what they’re thinking. Revelations about government agencies’ online surveillance programs also has heightened interest in privacy protection.
Celebrating My Account’s first birthday with improvements and new controls
A year ago today, we launched My Account, a hub that gives you quick access to controls for safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy on Google. My Account puts privacy and security tools in one place, including long-standing features like Ads Settings and newer ones like the Privacy and Security Checkups. Collectively, these tools make it easy for you to control your privacy and security from any device.
In the past year, more than one billion people around the world have used My Account. Now, on the first anniversary of its launch, we’re excited to introduce three new features to easily access your controls and protect your data.
- A helping hand when you lose your phone
We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data: texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble. Unfortunately, millions of phones are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, and countless more are lost in taxis, cafes, and couch cushions around the world. But when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe.
Find your phone is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”
- New ways to access My Account
People are increasingly using their voices to navigate apps and services—for example, mobile voice searches on Google have tripled in the past two years. So, we’re making it easier to get to My Account just by using your voice. In the latest Google app you can simply say, “Ok Google, show me my Google account,” and we’ll take you right there. This is available today in English, with other languages coming soon.
We’re also making it easier than ever to find My Account by searching Google. Coming soon, you’ll be able to simply search for your own name, and if you’re signed in, you’ll see a shortcut to My Account.
When you entrust your data to Google, you should expect powerful security and privacy controls. These features are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your personal information. We’ll continue to make updates based on your feedback.
Posted by Guemmy Kim, Product Manager, Account Controls and Settings
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Google uses the data collected by its search engine, Gmail and other services to analyze people’s interests and habits to show them ads about products most likely to appeal to them. Those ads generated $67 billion in revenue last year, providing most of the money that fuels Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.
In addition to providing quicker ways to get to personal account information, Google also is introducing a “Find Your Phone” tool that’s designed to protect data stored on a device, as well as help locate it if it’s lost or stolen. The tool will work on Apple’s iPhone, as well as devices running on Google’s Android software. It’s meant to supplement the device-tracking and security features already built into the iPhone and the Android operating system.
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