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Google Introducing New Settings For Smart Features in Gmail

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Google is introducing new controls for data it uses to personalize various “smart” features across its suite of products.

Google on Monday said it will further put users in control of their data and the Google experience, with a new setting for smart features and personalisation in Gmail.

“People have come to expect easier control of their data, and … we’ve been on a mission to take the work out of managing your privacy,” Google’s Maalika Manoharan wrote in the announcement post. “In the coming weeks, we’re launching … a new setting for smart features and personalization in Gmail.”

According to the post, Gmail users will soon be able to access a setting that stipulates whether their Gmail, Chat, or Meet data can be leveraged for Google’s automated Smart Reply or Smart Compose, for example, or whether bill payment reminders gleaned from email data can be issued through Google Assistant.

Gmail users will be shown two dialog boxes showing the data processing. The first concerns smart features offered within Gmail, including automatic email filtering/categorizations, Smart Compose, summary cards shown above emails, and extracting event details to create calendar entries. Google says that users won’t be able to access these features if they opt out of the data processing that makes them possible.

Meanwhile, the second dialog box allows users to opt out of having their Gmail, Chat, and Meet data power other Google products like the Assistant (which can display reminders about bills when are due), Maps (which can show restaurant reservations), and GPay’s loyalty cards and tickets. If you decide to turn them off, they can be enabled again in Gmail’s settings.

“Smart features rely on your data to save you time and provide a more helpful experience,” Manoharan adds. “We want you to use them because you find value in using them, not because they’re simply there.”

Google notes that this new smart feature setting is just the latest in a series of privacy protections that it’s added to Gmail. Other recent additions include making auto-delete the default and the Privacy Checkup tool. The firm also says that Gmail now blocks 99.9 percent of spam, phishing, and malware from reaching customer inboxes.

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