Google launches Incognito Mode for Google Maps, and more

Google expands history auto-delete to YouTube, adds better privacy controls to voice assistant.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor

Google has announced today new privacy-centered updates for three of its services -- namely Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Assistant.

More specifically, Google Maps will be getting an incognito mode, YouTube is getting a history auto-delete option, and Google Assistant is getting support for voice commands that will help users manage the Assistant's own privacy settings.

In addition, Google also launched a new Password Checkup feature that checks users' passwords if they've been leaked at other online services. We covered this update in a lot more depth in a separate ZDNet article, in case users want to learn more.

Incognito mode for Google Maps

Google first announced incognito mode for Google Maps earlier this year in May, at its Google I/O developer conference.

The Google Maps incognito mode is modeled after the similarly named feature that's found in all modern browsers and has been present in Chrome since its launch, back in 2008.

It allows Google Maps users to search and view locations without having this information added to their Google account history.

Google says incognito mode for Google Maps will start rolling out on Android this month, with iOS coming soon. The feature is currently not available for the Google Maps web version.

When available for their apps, users can turn on incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when they tap their profile photo inside the app.

The other Google service that supports an incognito mode is YouTube -- since earlier this year.

YouTube history auto-delete

And since we're on YouTube, Google is also adding a new feature for it, too. The company said YouTube will get a feature called "history auto-delete."

Google previously launched this feature in May, when it added it to Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Account (which allowed users to delete past app usage).

Starting today, the history auto-delete feature is also available for YouTube and will allow users to select an option and automatically delete old YouTube video history once it reaches three or 18 months. You can access this new feature at https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols/youtube

Image: Google [supplied]

New Voice Assistants privacy commands

Last, but not least, Google is also rolling out new privacy features to its voice assistant -- Google Assistant. These updates come after last week the company rolled out changes to its privacy policy on how Google Assistant handles voice recordings in response to concerns related to third-party contractors listening in on users' voice recordings.

But in the coming weeks, Google users will be able to query the Google Assistant itself about these privacy settings.

"When you ask questions like 'Hey Google, how do you keep my data safe?' the Assistant will share information about how we keep your data private and secure," Google said in a press release shared with ZDNet today.

"We're also making it easier to control your privacy with simple voice commands," Google added. "In the coming weeks, you'll be able to delete Assistant activity from your Google Account just by saying things like 'Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you' or 'Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.'

"You won't need to turn on any of these features-they will work automatically when you ask the Assistant for help. If you ask to delete more than a week's worth of data from your account, the Assistant will point you directly to the page in your account settings to complete the deletion," Google said.

These Google Assistant updates will roll out for English-speaking users next week and in all other languages next month.

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