What steps has Google taken ahead of the GDPR deadline?

11 May 2018

Google sign in front of one of its Silicon Valley offices. Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

With GDPR just around the corner, one of the largest tech firms in the world outlines its compliance steps.

GDPR is all about giving users in the EU more control over their personal data and delivering information about how it is used in an accessible, plain-language way.

The regulation will change the digital industry landscape, and one of its biggest stalwarts, Google, has released updates to its privacy policy two weeks ahead of the deadline.

Future Human

The new updates clarify what data it collects, as well as why.

Navigation is now easier and clearer explanations of practices are included. There is a series of video tutorials on options for users in terms of managing, exporting and deleting data.

Google makes alterations ahead of GDPR

The My Account page also got a bit of a refresh, with clearer information and improved controls announced by the company. Users can pick what activity will be saved to their respective Google accounts with switches to control location history, web and app activity across all devices under an account and YouTube search history.

Data collected by Google is now viewable from My Activity and users are provided with the option to delete specific activities or periods of activity they would rather not be linked to their account.

The Download Your Data tool has seen some improvements, too. The new features should make service-to-service data transfers encouraged by GDPR a lot less cumbersome. The company has recently launched the Data Transfer Project on GitHub, with early-stage open source code that will in time help developers to offer seamless data transfers.

Protections for children

Rules for parental consent as well as tweaked children’s tools have also been rolled out. Family Link is a tool available in other locations that has been launched in the EU. It allows parents to create a Google account for their child to monitor consent and enables them to set digital ground rules for their child’s data.

Email notifications will be rolled out to every single Google account, and will be happening over a number of days due to the volume of users.

Tips for advertisers

Marketers and publishers have raised concerns about Google’s advertising rules under GDPR. Google updated Cookie Choices to include new suggestions for publishers and advertisers to handle consent.

It outlined the main alterations: “If you use tags for advertising products like AdWords or DoubleClick Campaign Manager on your pages, you’ll need to obtain consent from your EEA users to comply with Google’s user consent policy. Our policy requires consent for cookies that are used for measurement purposes and consent for the use of personal data for personalised ads – for instance, if you have remarketing tags on your pages.”

A spokesperson for the company told MarTechToday: “Under existing EU law, Google already requires publishers and advertisers to get consent from their end users for the use of our advertising services on their websites. We’re asking our partners to refine the way they get consent for the use of Google’s services on their sites, in line with GDPR guidance.

“We’re not asking publishers to get consent for our users. We’re asking them to get consent from their users, on their sites, for use of adtech on their sites – which could be one of our advertising products, or someone else’s.”

Google sign in front of one of its Silicon Valley offices. Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects