Concerned about data privacy? Google’s Sundar Pichai wants you to have better control on it

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Updated: July 27, 2019 3:36:21 PM

Google is looking at simplifying “user understanding of how their data is used and giving them better controls and making it more easy for them to manage,” said Sundar Pichai.

Google’s Android Q operating system is claimed to have nearly 50 updates focused on user security and privacy.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, during the company’s Q2 2019 earnings conference call on Thursday, allaying concerns around user privacy and control over data stressed on company’s focus to give users more control over what information they are sharing and when. “In Q2, we announced privacy improvements to give users clear choices and more control around data. We’re making privacy controls more easily accessible, expanding our popular incognito mode to maps and adding new auto delete controls,” said Sundar Pichai during the call.

Google is looking at simplifying “user understanding of how their data is used and giving them better controls and making it more easy for them to manage,” said Sundar Pichai. The company has been defending itself against some of the regulatory pushes in the US and other places around regulating data privacy. The company had shut down the consumer version of its social network programme Google+ in April this year after it suffered two data leaks last year. 

We have confirmed that the bug impacted approximately 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API, Google had said in a blog post in December last year as “some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API.”

The Indian government has taken strong cognizance of the use of customer data and its storage in India and abroad and focusing on different aspects of data localisation in the draft e-commerce policy. It has now asked the RBI, as reported by PTI,  to look at concerns around its data localisation rules that mandates domestic storage of customer data without creating mirror sites overseas. A circular in April 2018, RBI had asked for “data relating to payment systems” to be “stored in a system only in India” within six months.

Google has been insisting on developing technology that depends on user data to create better products. “We continue to challenge the notion that products need more data to be more helpful,” said Sundar Pichai explaining the ‘federated learning’ technique introduced in 2017 that allows Google to train AI models and make its products better without customers’ raw data exiting their devices. “I think it’s one of the most important areas we are working on,” he said.

Google’s Android Q operating system is claimed to have nearly 50 updates focused on user security and privacy including control over the location data users’ share with the apps. Sundar Pichai also highlighted the company hate speech policy based on which the company had pulled down 8 million videos from YouTube “that violated our community guidelines.” Despite data leaks and questions over the user data, Google posted a 19.25 per cent jump in its revenue to $38.9 billion from the same period in 2018.

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