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Google Improves Data Portability Makes it Easier to Download Data and Search History

As the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) date is upon us, Google is announcing more improvements across alll of its services to comply with Europe Unino’s new regulation. Among other, the company announced more user-friendly new ways to export and/or delete their data as well as search, browsing and YouTube history.

“We’ve been working on our compliance efforts for over eighteen months, and ahead of the new law coming into effect,” stated Google.

Here’s an update on some of the key steps:

First up, Google is introducing improvements as well as expansion of its ‘Download Your Data’ tool to more Google services, making it capable to export data from products like Google Photos, Drive, Calendar, Google Play Music and Gmail. Data can be downloaded to own computer or cloud storage services, like OneDrive, Dropbox and Box.

In addition, ore contextual data control and a new setting to schedule regular downloads are added to the tool.

Also, to support GDPR’s reuqiring to enable direct service-to-service data transfers “where feasible”, Google is providing an early-stage open source code of its new “Data Transfer Project” on GitHub, so developers can offer seamless direct data transfer from one service to an alternative.

Users can also now download and or delete their Google search, web browsing, and YouTube viewing history. And, can “opt-out” of data collecting in the future.

In order to access search, browsing, and YouTube viewing history, you need to sign-in into the My Activity page. Once logged-in, just click the three-dot menu at the top of the page, then select “Delete activity by’—should you want to delete.

You will then direct to a menu where you can delete history in variety of ways with options to select, including “by keyword, by product, or by date range.”

A screenshot below shows Delete search history by topic or product option:

Delete Google Search History in Google Accounts

Of course, you can opt-out of data logging in the future, by signing in to this page and then choose your options to delete history from the following available categories:

  • Web & app activity
  • Location history
  • Device information
  • Voice & audio activity
  • YouTube search history
  • YouTube watch history

Further measures like exporting and downloading copy of all your G Suite data in one step can also be done easily now.

With today’s launch, data from G Suite core services, like Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Docs, will be exported when initiated for all users in an organization.

Initiate the export process in the admin console by navigating to Tools section of the right-side slideout menu and then select ‘Data Export.’ Once the process completes a confirmation email with a link to the archived data in Google Cloud Storage will be sent.

Here are two screenshots of Data Export feature in G Suite:

Data Export Feature in G Suite

Data Export Options in G Suite

This archive link can be access in the Data Export tool by clicking “Access archive” to download the data using several formats available to choose. The archived data will be available in Google Cloud Storage for 30 days before it’s “permanently deleted.”

For security purposes, “the archived data will only be available to super admins of a domain,” wrote Google. End users, when enabed by admins can download their individual data via “Download your data” tool.

In addition followng security controls are enforced on data export feature:

  • super admins who’ve been created more than 30 days prior to the request can ‘only’ initiate it.
  • admins must be authenticated using 2-step verification (2SV)
  • other admins will get nottification shortly after data export is initiated and export event will also be logged in the admin audit logs.
  • data export will remain turn off by default for domains with more than 1,000 users. To temporarily enable this feature, adming of these domains will neee to contact Google Cloud support, explained Google.

Google also has taken other compliance into effect including rewriting its privacy policy, and making it easier to transfer Google data to another company’s services.

In other releated news, updates to the look and feel of Google Drive on the web that includes a range of visual tweaks to align with material design, a responsive and efficient experience to feel cohesive with other G Suite products is launched.

Specific changes include:

  • logo in the top left has been changed to the Google Drive logo.
  • If you’ve added a custom company logo, it is now in the top right.
  • Settings icon has been moved in line with the search bar.
  • Help Center icon has been moved in line with the search bar.
  • page background is now white, not gray.
  • “New” button has been updated.
  • font used for headers has been changed.

You can see the comparison of several screens in old vs. the new interface in the gallery embedded below:

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