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You can now limit the amount of data shared with Google

If you’re in the EU, you’ve got a shot at taking more control of your digital privacy, even when dealing with those data-hungry platforms. Now, Google is giving users the power to choose how much info they want to share (or not share) with the provider. You can opt to “unlink” certain services from each other. This shift is happening as the tech giant preps to follow the new data-sharing rules laid out by the Digital Market Act (DMA).

The new law got the thumbs up in November 2022, and it’s slated to kick into official gear on March 6, 2024. That’s when whatever choices you make for your Google account will start to matter.

This covers stuff like Google Search, YouTube, Ad services, Google Play, Chrome, Google Shopping, and Google Maps. You’ve got the say in how much of your data you’re cool with sharing with the big tech giant. As Google explains, in fact, “you can choose to keep all these services linked, choose to have none of these services linked, or choose which of these individual services you want to keep linked.”

Rest assured, saying yes to keeping various Google services connected won’t mean your data gets handed over to third-party services. However, choosing to unlink them is still a win for privacy because it puts the brakes on these services sharing your personal info amongst themselves. In the end, this makes online tracking a tad trickier since your Google activities won’t be all tied together.

Just a heads up, if you’re all in for privacy, be ready to give up a bit of convenience. So, say goodbye to those tailored video suggestions on YouTube or location tips on Maps that usually rely on your past online adventures.

Giving users the chance to cut down on sharing their data isn’t the only tweak Google and other big players have to make before March 6. Thanks to the DMA, major tech players have a responsibility to ensure fair competition and safeguard people’s digital rights. The big shots in this gatekeeper role include Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Apple, Meta, Amazon, ByteDance (the TikTok folks), and Microsoft.

Take Google, for instance; they won’t get the upper hand in ranking their services on Search over third-party rivals. The heavyweights in Big Tech are also getting slapped with restrictions—they can’t force users into using their services on the devices they make or play mind games to manipulate user consent.

Now, some companies, Apple, Meta, and ByteDance included, are throwing punches to resist these demands. On the flip side, Google appears to be gearing up for March 6, the official kick-off date when the new DMA rules will kick in.