Google makes it easier to control your personal data and privacy

With the new "About me" page, you can view and control what other people see about you across Google's various services.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
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You can now control many of your Google settings from one single page.

Josh Miller/CNET

Worried about the personal information Google is sharing about you online? A new page gives you the ability to better control that information.

Rollout out earlier this week, the new "About me" page shows your social media pages, personal details such as your birthday and a link to access your Google privacy settings. You can directly jump into each section and delete or change the information to control what people see about you.

Google has come under fire in the past for its loose privacy settings and the lack of an easy way for users to control them. The company has so many services and such a wide reach online that Google users don't know what data is visible about them and to whom.

Though it may not cover every single facet of your Google data online, the "About me" page is fairly comprehensive. Any change you make will show up across Google services like Drive, Photos, Gmail, Hangouts, Google+, YouTube and others. So tweaking your settings here spares you from having to hop from one Google service to another to control your personal data.

The company will make improvements to the page over time, according to a Google spokesperson, but couldn't share any specific changes in store right now.

The most useful part of the page is the link to Google's Privacy Checkup where you can zero in on specific settings.

The Privacy Checkup takes you on a step-by-step tour of your privacy settings one section at a time. You can see how your Google+ profile page appears to the public and then choose to remove certain content, such as photos or reviews. You can also tell Google not to use your Google+ photos as background images on Google products and services or show your name and photo in shared endorsements that may appear in ads. You can also manage who sees your YouTube videos, your likes and your channel subscriptions.

There's also a section devoted to photos. Google gives you the option to automatically group your photos by matching the faces of people in them. If you don't want people identified in the photos you post, you can easily disable those settings. A geo-tag setting can identify where each photo was taken, but again you can turn off this setting if you don't want to reveal such information.

You can next control which information Google saves about you when you use the company's Chrome browser to surf to different sites or Google Maps to travel to different locations. Finally, you can manage your advertising settings. You can list certain activities that interest you so the ads are more targeted, or you can turn off targeted ads.

The Privacy Checkup requires a bit of time and effort to complete but is a good way to control what Google knows and shares about you.

Update, 1:00 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Google.