Google’s Found a New Way to Track Workspace Users

Google’s Found a New Way to Track Workspace Users

Heads up for all the Google Workspace users out there: starting at the end of next month, you’re going to need to take a few extra steps to delete your data off the platform.

Historically, Google users have been been able to tweak the ways the tech giant tracks them across the web using their “Web & Activity Settings,” which lets any Googler — on Workspace or otherwise — turn off the company’s ability to track their activity across different sites and services, their location, and more. Workspace admins were also able to automatically flip on and off activity tracking for the users in their organisation.

That’s all changing on March 29th, according to a new FAQ posted on Google’s Workplace administrator forum. At the end of that month, the company will be adding a new feature — “Workspace search history” — that can continue to track these customers, even if they, or their admins, turn activity tracking off.

The worst part? Unlike Google’s activity trackers that are politely defaulted to “off” for all users, this new Workplace-specific feature will be defaulted to “on,” across Workspace apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Meet, and more.

Google, for its part, is quick to note in the FAQ that it “never uses your data in Google Workspace core services for advertising.” But given the company’s notoriously shitty reputation for handling people’s data and this new, underhanded way that it’s planning on hoovering it up, suffice to say there’s gonna be users uncomfortable with the new setting.

Luckily, they can turn this option off if they want to, the same way they could turn off activity settings until now. According to Google, the option to do so will be right on the “My Activity” page once the feature goes live, right alongside the current options to flip off Google’s ability to keep tabs on their web activity, location history, and YouTube history. On this page, Google says the option to turn off Workspace history will be located on the far lefthand side, under the “Other Google Activity” tab.

While you’re browsing through that tab, you might want to delete some of the other data that the tech giant’s collected on you, like your Google Podcasts episode queue, information you’ve shared with Google Assistant, or all the times you’ve used Google search for dictionary or pronunciation help. The option to delete Workspace isn’t on the page (yet), but by the end of next month, Google promises you’ll be able to delete it from there, too.

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