Google I/O 2022 Brings New Security Protections and New Anonymity Tools

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Google updates conversational AI during I/O


James Martin/CNET

Google used its annual developer conference on Wednesday to demonstrate its commitment to protecting people from cyber threats, as well as providing more options for users to anonymize themselves in its world-leading Search product.

Among the most prominent projects is the search giant’s promise to bring passwordless technology to people. Google plans to automatically enroll users for two-factor authentication, a technique that should help reduce the risks posed by phishing, the company said at its I/O conference. The addition of 2FA follows news last week that the FIDO Alliancewhich includes Microsoft and Apple, as well as Google, was working to phase out passwords on websites and apps.

Google also said it would launch virtual credit cards for the Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system later this year. The technology works by substituting a virtual credit card number for the real number, which is stored on the browser or on a device. The virtual card is recognized by retailers, allowing them to process transactions without seeing the actual number. The process means that if a retailer is hacked, cyberthieves will get a fake virtual number that won’t be of much use. Virtual Cards will launch in the US first and will come to Chrome for iOS later.


The virtual credit card feature shown at Google I/O 2022.


Google used the developer conference, held near its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., to unveil significant changes to its renowned search product. The changes are designed to address long-standing concerns that the tech giant collects too much information about people who use its search service, in order to deliver personalized advertising, a core part of its revenue.

Called Protected Computing, the new tools will help users anonymize themselves online and gain more control over their data footprint. Protected Computing changes how, when and where data is processed. It will reduce the amount of personally identifiable data collected and use randomization methods to hide the links between a user’s identity and data. Protected Computing will also use end-to-end encryption to prevent anyone, including Google, from seeing sensitive data.

Keeping sensitive data hidden requires people to have more control over how they can show up in search. Last month, Google said it had released new tools to remove personally identifiable information from search to make it easier for users to remove details like phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses. -mail. This feature will be available in the coming months in the Google app.


Protected Computing Features Showcased at Google I/O 2022.


Google also gives people more control over the ads they see. With My Ads Center, users will be able to customize the types of ads they see on YouTube, Search, and their Discover feeds. Google hopes ads will be less annoying if people can control what types they see. For Google and the companies that use it to advertise, giving people more control should allow companies to deliver more relevant ads. (Google has already allowed users to limit sensitive ads around pregnancy or weight loss.)

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My ad center presented at Google I/O 2022.


Google also said it would bring its security status notification system to apps. People will see a yellow alert icon on their profile picture in apps to encourage them to take steps to improve their security, such as plugging potential holes. Phishing protection also extends beyond Gmail and heads into Google Workspace, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

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