IT Security & Network Security News & Reviews: Google's Expanded Privacy Tools Span Search, Ads, Chrome, YouTube, Gmail
Me on the Web
Google Dashboard is Google's control panel to the Web for its users. Part of the Google Dashboard that shows information stored in users' Google accounts, Me on the Web lets users manage what people see when they search for them on Google.
Web History Controls
Web History, which users must enable, can be deleted entirely or right down to the single search entry. Users may also pause their history.
Google+ Privacy Settings
Everyone knows how much flack Facebook caught with its extremely complex privacy settings. They're still no walk in the park. Google learned a lesson from its Google+ social network, where users can control settings for search visibility to determine who can share what with whom along with other more granular controls.
Consumers wouldn't even see the difference, but security geeks love this one. Encrypted Search is search on Google.com, albeit protect by cryptography measures to preserve privacy. It encrypts the search traffic between your computer and Google to protect search terms and search results pages from being intercepted by a third party.??Ã
Search Personalization Opt Out
Personalized search is a nice boon to searchers, helping Google present more relevant results to users based on their previous searches. Users may also opt out of having Google personalize search results.
Google also offers "Off the Record Gmail Chats," which users can find in the Gmail settings menu or in each chat window. This tool lets users control whether a copy of the chat is kept in their Gmail history.
Chrome Incognito Mode
Chrome, of course, has the famous Incognito Mode, which doesn't record Web pages, searches or files the users browse or their browse and download histories.
Keep My Opt Outs
Another cool privacy tool is Keep my Opt-outs, a Chrome Web extension that enables users to opt-out of ad personalization performed by companies adopting the industry privacy standards for online advertising. We can't tell you how many companies are using this, but it's nice to know it's available.
Ads Preferences Manager
Speaking of opt-outs, Google's Ads Preferences Manager lets users opt out of ads or just view and edit the information Google uses to show them interest-based ads on Websites in Google's ad network.
Google Analytics Opt-Out
Since we're on an opt-outs kick, there is also Google Analytics Opt Out, a browser opt-out that lets users keep their anonymous browser data from being collected by Google Analytics when they visit sites that use Google Analytics.
Street View Blurring
Google also provides a way to obscure images of their home and property in Street View. Click the "Report a problem" link in the bottom left corner of Street View in Google Maps to request further blurring of any Street View image that features the user, their family, their car or their home.
YouTube Private Videos
YouTube touts the ability for users to broadcast themselves, but users may also choose to share videos with just a small group of friends or keep it to yourself in YouTube's sharing settings.
The best privacy feature of all may be Takeout, which is a supreme data management tool that lets users export any of their Google Web service data. Well, almost any. Takeout is currently available for the Web services listed in this slide.
WiFi Opt Out
Slated to arrive this fall, WiFi Opt Out will let users hide their wireless access points, such as routers and smartphones, from Google's location database. "At the request of several European data protection authorities, we are building an opt-out service that will allow an access point owner to opt out from Google's location services. Once opted out, our services will not use that access point to determine users' locations," Google said.