This week, Google held its annual I/O Developer Conference, where the company unveiled new software updates such as Android 13 and even some new hardware devices, including Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and the Pixel Watch. In addition, it also unveiled a number of security and privacy features that are coming to its apps and services later this year.
Google says that it wants to safeguard user privacy and wants to build a safer internet by making its products secure by default, private by design, and putting the user in control of their data. To accomplish this goal, Google has announced several new features, such as Account Safety Status, Automatic 2-Step Verification, Virtual Cards, and others that are coming to its services soon. Here's everything you need to know.
New Security and Privacy Features Announced at Google I/O 2022
When asked about how people trust big tech companies with their data, users usually rate Apple higher than companies like Google and Meta, which are often found towards the other end of the spectrum. But it appears that Google wants to change this perception. Here are some security and privacy features coming to Google apps and services soon.
The trend of online shopping, getting things delivered straight to your letterbox, isn't slowing down, and more and more people are making online payments every day. As the online usage of cards increases, the risk of your payment details being exposed to hackers and cybercriminals also increases. To safeguard your payment details, such as credit/debit card numbers, CVVs, and others, Google is launching a new feature called "Virtual Cards" on Chrome and Android.
Currently, when you pay for something online, you can auto-fill payment details and card information using Google's pop-up menu. To add an extra layer of protection, Google is launching Virtual Cards that will hide your actual card number from the payment system. It will replace your actual credit/debit card number with a distinct, virtual number. You will be able to generate, manage, and see all the transactions of your Virtual Card from pay.google.com later this year. The feature is exclusive to the United States for now, but Google may expand it to other regions in the future. Virtual Cards will support all Visa, American Express, Mastercard, and Capital One cards at launch.
My Ad Center
Google ads are everywhere. Most of the websites you visit, on YouTube, on Android apps, and even in Search and Discover feed, you can spot a Google ad pretty much everywhere on the internet. Currently, Google customizes ads based on what you search, like, dislike, and many more things. In 2022, Google will provide you with more granular control over what type of ads you see.
Google has announced that it will launch a new "My Ad Centre" that will give people control and provide an easier way to choose whether to personalize your ads. "You’ll be able to choose the types of ads you want to see — such as fitness, vacation rentals, or skincare — and learn more about the information we use to show them to you," says the company. You will also be able to mark certain types of ads so that you never see them again. The company will roll out My Ads Center later this year.
During the I/O keynote, Google announced that it's changing the way how, when, and where data is processed. The company announced "Protected Computing," which will ensure the privacy and safety of your data. Google says that advances in technologies have allowed it to drastically reduce the amount of your personally identifiable data. The company says that it intentionally adds "statistical noise" to strip your identity from your data. Lastly, Google announced that it would continue to add end-to-end encryption to more and more services, making it impossible to access your sensitive data.
Remove Personal Information from Google Search
With so much data scattered on the internet, it's possible that some of your personal information, such as email address, phone number, or home address, can pop up in a Google search result. Google says that it will now allow users to get their personal information removed from Google Search. This feature will be available in the Google app later this year. In addition, you can also raise a request by clicking the three dots next to individual Google Search results.
Phishing Protection and Safety Status Notification in More Apps
Google already blocks phishing and spam messages in Gmail. The company says that its system blocks nearly 15B phishing emails every day. The company says that it is now expanding its "proven" phishing protection to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. If you access a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide that contains a phishing link, you will get an alert on the screen. In addition, the company says that it is now expanding its account safety status to more and more apps. If there's something wrong with the safety of your account, a simple yellow alert icon on your profile picture will appear. It will then show actions that you should take to secure your account.
Automatic Two-Factor Authentication
Google says that it is working to bring password-less sign-in technology to people. However, to ensure safe sign-in, multi-factor authentication is very important. To make 2FA easier, Google is bringing one-click 2-step verification, which will not require the user to input a six-digit authentication code. Instead, users can simply use their existing iOS and Android devices to approve sign-in requests.
These are some of the features that will make it to your Google accounts and services soon. Personally, I'm looking forward to the Virtual Card feature. Currently, this technology is available in the Apple Card. Whenever you use an Apple to make a non-Apple purchase online, it generates a random card number every time.
However, the key difference between Apple's and Google's approaches is that Google's Virtual Card technology works with almost all the cards. The company has has partnered with all the major card providers in the United States. It will allow you to use your existing cards and will not be limited to one card. Which feature are you excited about? Let us know in the comments section below!