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Google now has a much better way to alert you to critical security issues

If someone’s hacking into your account, getting an email about it might not do much good; by the time you read it, the damage may already be done. 

To combat the issue, Google is launching in-app security alerts for critical issues with Google accounts. 

When Google detects a security issue with your account – such as someone logging in from an unknown device – it will display an alert in the app you’re currently using, such as Gmail. You’ll see a red “!” next to your profile picture in the upper right corner, and when you click on it, you’ll get a warning about a security issue and a prompt to resolve it. 

The best thing about these notifications is that they’re resistance to spoofing (says Google), meaning you can be sure they’re coming from Google (unlike emails, which can fairly easily be spoofed). 

Google says it first started notifying people about security issues with Android alerts back in 2015, which yielded a twenty-fold increase in the number of people that engaged with these notifications within an hour (compared to getting notifications via email). 

The company says it will start rolling out the new alerts to a limited number of users “in the coming weeks,” and expand them more broadly “early next year.”

In other security-related news, Google is launching Guest mode for Google Assistant. Once you turn it on (with a voice command), the following interactions with Assistant won’t be saved to your account, until you turn Guest mode off. The new feature will become available “in the coming weeks.”

Google also says users will “soon” be able to edit their location history data in Timeline manually, such as adding or editing places they’ve visited. Users are also now able to view their personal security and privacy settings just by typing things like “Is my Google Account secure?” into Google Search. 

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