Keep your pants on in Google apps with some new privacy tips

December 19, 2007

Keep your pants on in Google apps with some new privacy tips Anyone who has a phone or uses Google apps like Gmail chat and Picasa may be exposing private information. Take control with these tips from Google developers.

Google posted a series of videos on YouTube that describe ways to protect personal information while using its services and below are a few highlights.

Phone numbers are pulled into the Google index from public records, but if you’d like to remove yours follow these steps: (1) Head over to google.com, (2) Type in your name, city, state, (3) Click on the link that contains your name, (4) That will bring up the screen below, click on the request to have your name removed from this list link.

Google phonebook settings

Another Google service, Street View has been photographing cities for a while now and your picture may be contained in one of those shots. To remove it, click on the help link and explain your request.

Google web history settings

Having a sensitive conversation with someone in Gmail chat? During any conversation, click on the options button then choose go off the record.

If you’re logged into a Google account while surfing the web, the company tracks what you’ve been searching for and what pages you’ve been visiting. To disable web history, click on my account when logged in, choose web history, then click on the pause link in the lower left. Google also provides an option to remove specific items on the same page.

According to Google, “just as we’re dedicated to innovation when it comes to making better, more useful products, we’re also committed to finding new ways to educate you about how to control what information you share when using our products, and with whom.”

To see the whole series of videos including more privacy tips on Google Calendar, Picasa and Blogger, head to YouTube.

While none of the tips are groundbreaking material, and some may even seem like common sense, it does indicate that Google is serious about protecting our privacy.

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