Google I/O: New security features include virtual credit cards, account safety status

From better ads to protecting your personal information, Google is doing more to help keep your data private.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

Google's annual developer conference kicked off on Wednesday with several announcements. One includes a handful of new products and services -- that Google is either rolling out or will be rolling out in the future -- to help improve users' security and to protect their privacy. The company recapped the announcements via a blog post by Jen Fitzpatrick

Google's announcements tackle several different aspects of your privacy and security. For example, Google is working on a new virtual card tool that can be used across Android devices and in the Chrome browser on Mac or PC. It's separate from Google Pay, and once a card is added to the service, a virtual card number will be given to the vendor whenever you purchase something online. 

Also: What are virtual credit card numbers and how do they work?

In the event of a data breach, the virtual card number can be replaced, and you won't have to deal with replacing your physical card. Apple has the same type of feature for the Apple Card. Google's virtual cards are expected to launch this summer. 

Image: Google

Google also announced a new tool for users' profiles that will alert you if there's an action or step you need to take to better protect your information. The Account Safety Status will show up as a yellow circle around your profile's avatar, letting you know there's something that needs your attention. In addition to the Safety Status feature, Google Workspace users will soon see more proactive phishing alerts in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. 

To help users keep their personal contact information out of Google search results, a new tool will let you flag data, such as your phone number or address, that's found in public searches. Once flagged, Google will evaluate it and remove any unwanted and potentially harmful information. 

Through a new Protected Computing initiative, Google will continue its efforts to remove any personally identifying information from your account data and continue investing in encryption. 

Google is also working on a new My Ad Center that will allow users to provide feedback about the ads they see while using various Google products. Users can remove ad types, or indicate that they want to see more ads about a specific topic. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to the virtual card numbers the most. I use that feature all the time with my Apple Card, and I wish more credit or debit cards had the same offering. Thanks to Google, at least, it sounds like they will very soon.

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