This week Google held its annual I/O Developer Conference where the company unveiled new software updates such as Android 13 and even new hardware devices including Pixel 6a, Pixel 7 and PixelWatch. Additionally, it also unveiled a number of security and privacy features that will be incorporated into its apps and services later this year.
Google says it wants to protect user privacy and create a safer Internet by making its products secure by default, private by design, and giving the user control over their data. To achieve this goal, Google has announced several new features, such as account security status, automatic 2-step verification, virtual cards, and more 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 how people trust big tech companies with their data, users typically rate Apple higher than companies like Google and Meta, which are often on the other end of the spectrum. But it seems that Google wants to change this perception. Here are some security and privacy features coming soon to Google apps and services.
The trend of online shopping, direct delivery to your mailbox, is not slowing down and more and more people are making payments online every day. As online card usage increases, the risk of your payment information being exposed to hackers and cybercriminals also increases. To protect your payment information, such as credit/debit card numbers, CVVs and more, Google is launching a new feature called “Virtual Cards” on Chrome and Android.
Currently, when you pay for something online, you can autofill payment details and card information using the Google context menu. To add an extra layer of protection, Google is launching virtual cards that will hide your real card number from the payment system. It will replace your real credit/debit card number with a separate virtual number. You will be able to generate, manage and view all your virtual card transactions from pay.google.com later this year. The feature is exclusive to the US 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 websites you visit, on YouTube, Android apps, and even in the Search and Discover feed, you can spot a Google ad all over the internet. Currently, Google personalizes ads based on what you search for, likes, dislikes, and more. In 2022, Google will give you finer control over the type of ads you see.
Google has announced that it will launch a new “My Ads Center” that will put people in control and provide an easier way to choose whether or not to personalize your ads. “You’ll be able to choose the types of ads you want to see, such as fitness ads, vacation rentals, or skincare ads, and learn more about what information we use to show them to you.” says the company. You will also be able to bookmark certain types of ads so you will never see them again. The company will roll out My Ads Center later this year.
During the I/O keynote, Google announced it was changing how, when, and where data is processed. The company announced “Protected Computing”, which will ensure the privacy and security of your data. Google claims that advances in technology have allowed it to significantly reduce the amount of your personally identifiable data. The company says it intentionally adds “statistical noise” to strip your identity from your data. Finally, Google announced that it will 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 across the internet, some of your personal information, such as email address, phone number, or home address, may show up in a Google search result. Google says it will now allow users to remove their personal information from Google Search. This feature will be available in the Google app later this year. Additionally, you can also make a request by clicking on the three dots next to individual Google search results.
Phishing protection and security status notification in other apps
Google already blocks phishing and spam messages in Gmail. The company says its system blocks nearly 15 billion phishing emails every day. The company says it is now extending its “proven” phishing protection to Google Docs, Slides and Sheets. If you navigate to a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide that contains a phishing link, an alert will appear on the screen. Additionally, the company claims that it is now extending its account security status to more and more apps. If something goes wrong with your account security, a simple yellow alert icon will appear on your profile picture. It will then display the actions you need to take to secure your account.
Automatic two-factor authentication
Google says it is working to offer users passwordless sign-in technology. However, to ensure a secure connection, multi-factor authentication is very important. To facilitate 2FA, Google is bringing 2-step one-click verification, which will not require the user to enter a six-digit passcode. Instead, users can simply use their existing iOS and Android devices to approve connection requests.
Here are some of the features coming soon to your Google accounts and services. Personally, I’m looking forward to the virtual card feature. Currently, this technology is available in the Apple Card. Every time you use an Apple to make a non-Apple online purchase, it generates a random card number each time.
However, the main difference between Apple’s and Google’s approaches is that Google’s virtual card technology works with almost any card. The company has partnered with all major card providers in the United States. It will allow you to use your existing cards and will not be limited to a single card. What feature excites you? Let us know in the comments section below!