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Google Adds New ‘Collections’ Listings Based on Your Search History

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Google’s looking to make your search history more functional by gathering topically related queries that you’ve entered in the past into defined collections, based on subject groups.

Som förklarat av Google:

“Today, we’re launching some changes to Collections in Search to make it easier to jump back into your task without digging through your search history. Using AI, Collections in the Google app and mobile web now groups similar pages you’ve visited from Search related to activities like cooking, shopping and hobbies. You can choose to save these suggested collections so you can come back to them later.”

As you can see in this example, when you go to Samlingar in the Google app, you’ll now see a new ‘Suggested Collections’ listing along the top of the screen. Tap on any of these and you’ll be shown a listing of Google searches you’ve conducted in the past related to this topic.

Google Collections

It could be an easier way to keep track of relevant searches – and further to this, Google is also adding a ‘Find More’ button (which you can also see in the above example), which, when tapped, will show you “related websites, images, products, and even related searches so you can explore new aspects of a topic”.

Google first unveiled Collections in search under 2018, enabling users to group saved searches into defined categories within the app. But that wasn’t Google’s first foray into Collections – back in 2015, Google released a similar Collections tool for Google+, which, at that time, was seen as one of Google’s first moves to fend off potential competition from Pinterest.

Which is particularly interesting in the context of this additional new Collections option:

There’s also a new collaboration feature that lets you share and work on a collection with others. For example, if you’re planning a party with friends, you might want to share the recipes you’re considering, or the decorations you want to use so you can make a decision together. When sharing a collection, you’ll have the option to let others view it or to let others make changes.”

Google Collections

Which sounds a lot like Pinterest’s Group Boards, right? Collaborative listings of items and ideas, based on platform searches. Note also the messaging capability in the above example – Pinterest added messaging to its group boards back in 2018

As we’ve noted previously, Google is very aware of Pinterest’s rising use case, and of the platform’s push to be viewed as ‘a discovery platform’, as opposed to a social network. 

Indeed, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann – who himself once worked for Google – has repeatedly noted that Pinterest is not a social network, but more “a catalog of ideas”, with a focus on product discovery. That emphasis is seen by most as a way to hedge Pinterest from inevitable comparison to Facebook – seeing how Twitter has been withered by such comparisons over time, Silbermann and his team appeared determined to distance themselves from The Social Network tag, and market framing which would pit them against Facebook’s massive growth, particularly in light of Pinterest’s own IPO.

But in distancing itself from Facebook, it may have inadvertently awakened an even bigger rival, with Google now looking to blunt Pinterest’s growth, releasing a range of similar products and tools which appear designed to temper the smaller platform’s efforts.

Which makes sense – for every expansion Pinterest makes into search and discovery, Google is the main loser, and even though Pinterest’s share of such activity would be very small, Google, through its own tools, can offer similar tools. So why lose out at all?

And if Pinterest keeps growing, it becomes a bigger problem for the Big G. So while Pinterest’s discovery tools are expanding, and its usage is on the rise, expect Google to be paying close attention, and providing similar offerings where it can. 

You can read more about Google’s new Collections tools här.

Socialmediatoday.com

GOOGLE

Google ska betala $391,5 miljoner för uppgörelse över platsspårning, säger statliga AG:er

Publicerad

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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