Google Increases Privacy, but There Is a Downside
When you use Google services and devices, the company saves a lot of data about the way you use them, including your location data and your web searches. You can go in and delete some of this manually, and there are ways to turn the features off so that they will not automatically save. However, many people don't do this, don't know how to do it, or plan to do it and then forget to actually take the time to log in and make the changes. To help protect the privacy of their users, Google is now transitioning toward auto-delete options to erase this data, but they warn that it may hinder the way you experience their services.
After all, the reason Google saves this information is to help with recommendations in the future. It works to predict what results and services you personally need the most. This is why you often see ads for products that you've actually looked into in the past. Targeted ads have higher conversion rates and give users an experience that they enjoy more. Recommendations for other things -- shopping options, entertainment, local dining options -- also have their basis in location data and personal user information.
As such, experts do warn that the search engine might not have enough information about users to make accurate recommendations if the users delete their data.
A Rolling System
Naturally, there is a counter to this: Even the auto-delete function will not have to eliminate all user data. Each user can set it up on a rolling system to delete information that is deemed too old. For instance, they could delete everything after 18 months or after three months.
As such, Google will still have the most recent search and location data, even for users who opt into this new system. In some senses, that could make recommendations more accurate because the only data that Google uses will actually reflect their current situation.
Google is advertising this as a "set it and forget it" option that is user-friendly. It saves people the trouble of going in to manually delete information. It also means that they still get the advantages of allowing Google to use their data -- rather than completely turning it off -- without having everything from their whole life stored by the tech giant.
As of May 1, Google noted that they were putting this new feature into action in the coming weeks, so the full impact won't be seen for some time. How many users will opt in? How many will continue to delete all data? How many will simply allow Google to track everything, feeling less worried about privacy than they are about accurate results and recommendations? Google is simply providing the tools for people to use, but how they use them is up to each individual user.
Naturally, though, you can imagine the type of impact this could have on Google search results, recommendations and online ads, which are enormous parts of any advertising effort. Here at Content Customs, we can help you consider these changes and devise a marketing and SEO plan that gives your company the advantage.