Google has expanded its ‘Safety Centre’ aimed at providing users with more control over the data they share with the tech giant across its various services. The newly expanded Safety Centre platform will also provide resources and information on topics like data security. It will be made available in nine Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
While the company, over the years, has made available many tools to help users safeguard their data and privacy, Safety Centre will be like a one-stop shop for information and adjusting preferences on how users allow Google to use their data.
“What we have done through the Safety Centre is demystified a lot of the myths – like Google selling user data – by giving the user the power to see the data we are accessing…we have said what is the data that Google is accessing, why is Google accessing that data and how is it utilising that data,” Google India Director of Trust and Safety Sunita Mohanty said.
She added that various information like the user’s name, date of birth, location, browser history and others is clearly laid out and users can choose to download and delete the data if they do not want Google to use it.
This can be done for specific periods of time as well as for specific products like Maps or Search.
“We also clarify on personalisation, one can remove that. We don’t look at your political affiliation, we never do personalisation based on sexual orientation, on medical history, so we have policies on what we don’t personalise… You can fully remove personalisation of ads or categories but ads won’t stop, just that they will not be personalised,” she said.
Mohanty pointed out that India is the second largest Internet user base in the world with new users coming onboard everyday.
“Many of these users are coming online for the first time, and they need to be made aware of the possible negative experiences that they may incur on the web. This makes it important for us to educate users and create awareness on the possible dangers and threats they can be exposed to when surfing the net,” she said.
Asked how these would play out in light of India working on its set of data protection laws, Mohanty said users are savvy about these developments and the company wants to be transparent and open about its usage of user data.
“…we have been working with industry bodies to provide our point of view to organisations that are working on creating that law and making sure that you balance privacy with what users want in terms of innovation and personalisation and draw a good balance where there is a win-win for all parties. We are engaging with government, industry to be a part of the solution,” she said. SR ABM