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Google apps will add notifications for 'critical' security issues

Igor Bonifacic
·Contributing Writer
·2-min read

Google’s latest effort to protect the safety and privacy of its users involves more prominent security alerts. Moving forward, when the company detects a potentially serious issue with your account, it will notify you directly through the Google app you’re using at the moment.

There’s a good reason for Google to make its already prominent security notifications more visible. When the company introduced Android alerts in 2015, it says it saw a 20-fold increase in the number of people engaging with its security warnings within an hour of getting one. Another advantage of these new alerts is that they’re difficult to spoof since they’re issued directly through the company’s apps. Google will start rolling out the updated notifications to a small subset of its users over the next couple of weeks, with wide availability planned for early next year.

Google in-app alerts
Google in-app alerts

Besides the new alerts, the company detailed two privacy-focused features. The first is a Guest mode for Google Assistant that’s rolling out in the “coming weeks.” As Google points out, there are plenty of instances where you likely don’t want Assistant saving a question or request to your account. That’s where this new feature comes in.

“With an easy voice command, you can turn on Guest mode, and your Assistant interactions while in this mode won’t be saved to your account,” the company says. It still seems Google is saving conversations in this instance, but they’re not tied to a specific account. We’ve reached out to the company for more information, and we’ll update this article when we hear back.

Lastly, Google says it will soon give you the option to manually edit your location history data through your Timeline. You’ll be able to edit the places you’ve visited, as well as add any missing locations. Google’s new features won’t put a stop to phishing and other malicious activity that could compromise your account, but if you’re diligent about using them, they should offer peace of mind.