In brief: If you’re anything like most tech-savvy internet users, you probably don’t care for Google’s data harvesting tendencies. Fortunately, you can soon put a stop to some of them where it matters most: your private Gmail accounts. Soon, Google will let users completely opt-out of its “smart features,” which use your data to provide you with features like predictive typing, automated email filtering, and more.
This is a very significant change that has the potential to vastly alter the end-user Gmail experience. Even the service’s incredibly helpful automatic categories — such as Promotion, Updates, Primary, and Social — will be disabled if you opt-out.
Other features like Smart Compose (text suggestions), email summaries, and automated calendar entries could also be “degraded” or entirely switched off. It’s difficult to say whether or not the trade-off would be worthwhile, but for those who take their privacy seriously, this control could be exactly what they were hoping for.
Of course, using data gathered about how you use a certain service just to make that single, isolated service better isn’t really how Google operates. The company is also notorious for carrying any information it’s gathered about you over to its other products and services, with the goal of enhancing them as well.
Fortunately, there will also be new controls to stop that from happening, too. You’ll soon be able to “Use limited versions of other Google products,” which will effectively switch off this cross-service data usage for apps like Google Chat and Meet. You’ll lose out on some data-reliant features like automatic bill reminders, of course.
These new privacy controls should be rolling out soon, but we don’t have a specific timeframe for their arrival. However, we’d expect to see them sometime in the coming weeks.