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Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps

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Google has announced three new ways for users to hide their personal activity while using Maps, YouTube, and Assistant.

These features were announced to mark the occasion of October being Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Users can now control their privacy is ways they couldn’t before while using Google’s services.

Here is an overview of everything that was announced.

Incognito Mode for Google Maps

Incognito mode will allow people to utilize Google Maps without their activity being saved in their Google account. Google introduced incognito mode first in Chrome in 2008, then added it to YouTube earlier this year.

When it launches, incognito mode can be toggled on and off in Maps by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap on your profile photo.

Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps

This feature will first roll out to Android later this month, and will be available “soon” on iOS.

Auto-delete YouTube activity

Google is giving users the option to automatically delete their YouTube history. Auto-delete was first introduced earlier this year for users’ location history as well as web & app activity.

Users can select the time period to keep their data, which could be for 3 months, 18 months, or until it’s manually deleted.

Managing privacy in Google Assistant

Google is making it possible for users to control their privacy with voice commands in Google Assistant. Users will be able to delete their Assistant activity by saying commands such as “Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you” or “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.”

Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps

These features will be automatically available when Google Assistant is updated next week.

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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