Google gives users more control over data

Google is trying hard to convince consumers that it is safe to trust it. At its developer conference on Tuesday, the tech giant put the issue front and centre.

(REUTERS) - Google is trying hard to convince consumers that it is safe to trust it. At its developer conference on Tuesday (May 7), the tech giant put the issue front and centre.

"Another way that we build for everyone is ensuring our products are safe and private and people have clear meaningful choices around their data," said Mr Sundar Pichai, Google chief executive officer. "We strongly believe that privacy and security are for everyone, not just a few."

To that end, Google announced a new function that will allow users to choose how long Google keeps its data collected from the Web and apps, and later this year will introduce an incognito mode on Google Maps keeping the map use data private. That mode already exists on Google's Chrome browser and YouTube.

Reuters reporter Paresh Dave was there.

"Another big announcement from Google today was these new privacy commitments for their home hardware," said Mr Dave. "That includes things like the Nest thermostat, their new Nest home hub, the smart Google smart speakers. And so what Google is saying is that whenever there's a sensor on the device or whenever the device is collecting any data, they're going to become more clear about what data is collected, when is it collected, how can you turn it off, is it going to be used for advertising purposes."

It's not just Google. Last week, Facebook at its developer conference pushed it as well. And Apple has had ad campaigns around its privacy protection commitment on its devices.

Google too says it is taking privacy on devices a step further thanks to an advancement in AI. It has found a way to provide AI services like predictive typing, or translation without connecting to the Internet, meaning data no longer has to travel to the cloud for Google's AI functions to work.