Menu
Google debuts privacy controls, principles at I/O event

Google debuts privacy controls, principles at I/O event

New privacy controls revealed

Stephanie Cuthbertson (Google)

Stephanie Cuthbertson (Google)

Credit: REUTERS | Paresh Dave

Google has announced new privacy controls for its services, including “incognito mode” for Google Maps, and published new privacy commitments for its hardware, showing how increased public scrutiny is forcing greater transparency in Silicon Valley.

The announcements were dotted throughout nearly two hours of product updates from the search giant at its annual Google I/O developers' conference. Google also launched its lowest priced smartphone yet, the Pixel 3a, and demonstrated upcoming capabilities for its virtual assistant, such as car rental and movie ticket bookings by voice commands.

Google has been fending off some of the growing legislative and regulatory pushes in the United States and elsewhere to regulate data privacy and other issues core to its business model. Proposals being weighed by lawmakers would limit how Google, Facebook  and other internet companies track consumers and distribute information.

With revenue growth slowing and costs largely growing, Alphabet has faced questions from investors about the threat of new rules and its ability to commercialise newer services such as the Google Assistant.

Alphabet shares closed Tuesday down 1.2 percent to US$1,178.86. They have fallen from an all-time high of US$1,296.98 since the company reported quarterly sales last month that were US$1 billion below expectations.

Incognito mode, which is launching on Google Maps "soon" and Google search later this year, would block the company from storing user activity in those services, the company said.

For home-based devices including smart speakers, thermostats and security alarms, Google on Tuesday published a new website with disclosures on how sensors such as microphones and cameras on those devices work. In addition, it committed to giving users the ability to review any sensor recordings and delete them.

Further, the company said it would not use "video footage, audio recordings, and home environment sensor readings" to personalise ads.

Other privacy announcements included more granular control starting later this year over how mobile apps for Google's Android operating system access location data.

"The central focus of the release is security and privacy," Stephanie Cuthbertson, director of product management for Android, said on stage.

Assistant options

The car booking capability, which Google demonstrated on National Car Rental's website, builds on the company's push over the last two years to integrate more artificial intelligence-fuelled features into its virtual helper, Google Assistant.

It aims to free users from manually filling out forms on websites, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai told the several thousand conference attendees. It will be available later this year on Android phones in the United States and United Kingdom, Google said.

In an update to search, Google introduced augmented reality technology that enables users to view three-dimensional renderings of some visual results through their smartphone cameras. Google said it was working with companies such as New Balance, Target Corp, Samsung and Volvo to make 3D models of their products available in mobile search.

Google also brought Google Assistant to new products including Pixel 3a.

Google said it would re-brand all of its "Home" hardware as "Nest," reflecting the thermostat maker it purchased in 2014.

The Google Nest Hub Max, a larger version of Google's smart speaker with a display, will arrive later this year, the company announced. 

That camera sensing feature will not send imagery to Google's servers once it is set up, Google said on its new privacy website.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Dan Grebler and Susan Thomas)


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyGooglehardware

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments