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Google I/O fails to focus on privacy

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

09 May 2018

Earlier this week, the annual Google I/O developer conference began at the company’s Mountain View campus in California.

The speakers discussed new features, updates, upgrades and future movements, but one thing was notably missing: improvements on privacy.

From what we’ve heard so far, we can look forward to advancements in Google Assistant technology, making the voices sound more human; built-in editing tools for Google Photo; and a rollout of the company’s Tensor Processor Unit 3.0, amongst other things.

If attendees were expecting a focus on privacy in the wake of a year of scandals within other tech companies and heightened privacy concerns, then they were left wanting. None of Google’s newly announced features have any real impact on the privacy of users, and none focus on privacy or security specifically.

However, Sundar Pichai did talk the talk, at least, saying:

We are in an important inflection point in computing, and it’s exciting to drive the technology forward. But it’s clear that we cannot just be wide-eyed about what we create. There are very real and important questions being raised about the impact of technology and the role it will play in our lives.

It’s made us even more reflective of our responsibilities.

While this doesn’t exactly constitute a commitment to greater privacy or security controls, it does at least show that the CEO is aware of the potential repercussions of not considering user security as the global conversation around privacy becomes more serious.

Google risks missing out on hgue opportunties to reaffirm its dedication to user privacy, and in doing so may lose the confidence of its users.

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