At the I/O 2023 event, Google revealed numerous exciting products, such as its first-ever foldable, Pixel Fold, and the next-gen A-series device, the Pixel 7a. In addition to these launches, Google also showcased a variety of security-related features aimed at improving our online safety. Here’s a roundup of the latest safety-focused updates from Google:
Google security features and updates in 2023
New Safe Browsing API
Google’s Safe Browsing uses AI to identify and alert users to dangerous sites and files, stopping scams before they happen. The company is introducing its latest Safe Browsing API that speeds up the ability to check and identify compromised sites. With the new API, Google will be even safer, as it will enable it to better identify at-risk sites and block phishing attempts on Chrome and Android.
Spam filtration in Google Drive, passwordless sign-in to user account
One of the few reasons why Gmail is better than any other email service out there is due to its exceptional spam detection capabilities — it is very rare for a phishing email to pass through Google’s spam check. And now, this same feature will be available in Google Drive. Drive will automatically sort content into a spam view, allowing users to easily separate and review files.
Google also highlighted the passkey feature that introduced last week. For those who may not know, passkeys allow you to sign-in to your Google account using biometric authentication, eliminating the need for password and 2FA. You can learn more about Google passkeys and how to set it up on your account right here.
Check if your Gmail address appears on the dark web
Google allows One subscribers in the US to check if their Gmail address appears anywhere in the dark web. Soon, anyone with a Gmail account in the US will be able to get the dark web report and receive suggestions on what actions the user can take to protect themselves. Google also says that dark web report will also expand to select international markets at a later stage.
Delete search history in Google Maps
Google will soon allow users to delete their search history directly from the Maps app. While the functionality was available from Web & App Activity dashboard, users will now be able to delete recent searches right from Maps with just a tap.
Improving control over data with Android 14
Android 14 brings a number of new features to the world’s most used OS. Google is also adding a number of privacy-related features that change how your data is used by apps. Now, when an app asks for your location, you will be notified in the prompt box if the app will share the location data with third-party services for advertising purposes. You can then decide if you want to grant location access or not. Moreover, Google is adding a new button to Play Store that will enable you to ask the app developer to delete your data if you’re no longer using that app.
Improvements to Google Images and Content Safety API
Similar to how Google lets users get information about a specific website (by clicking three dots next to a search result), the tech giant is introducing the “About this Image” tool for Google Images. This tool will provide users with relevant information about the image, such as when it was first indexed, where it may have appeared, and where else it has been seen online, like news, social, or fact-checking sites.
In addition to this, Google is expanding the Content Safety API to include potential CSAM in video content. Google says it is an “important step forward for the child safety ecosystem” as video files account for nearly 50% of all files reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).