Google Takes a Bite Out of Apple

At its annual developer conference, Google took small steps in Apple’s direction with a new privacy and security focus for its products.

Hope King
Cheddar
Published in
4 min readMay 9, 2019

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai on stage at I/O 2019. (Photo: Google)

(Slightly edited from original story and video which you can read and watch here: https://cheddar.com/media/google-i-o-privacy-features-apple)

Apple in March showed off a new business strategy focused on media and services. And while there are plenty of streaming and gaming options out there, Apple’s main message was privacy. Unlike others, Apple made it clear that it doesn’t collect information about its users for the purpose of advertising.

That Apple owns the hardware and software to enable these protections has been a big advantage for the iPhone-maker. But if you look at what Google announced on Tuesday, that advantage may be shrinking.

Privacy, security, and control were the big themes at Google’s annual I/O developer conference.

“This morning we’ll introduce you to many products built on a foundation of user trust and privacy,” CEO Sundar Pichai said onstage within the first few moments of his opening keynote in Mountain View, California.

The idea of privacy and security being “the foundation” of Google popped up several more times during Pichai’s speech and those of the other speakers.

The message repetition was noteworthy because, like Facebook, Google’s main business model has been collecting as much information on its users as possible to better target ads. But the company’s relatively recent push into consumer hardware means it could start locking down its platforms like Apple.

Here’s one example: Google Maps will now include Incognito mode, which makes it harder for Google to collect personally identifiable information while you use the app. This mode already exists in Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari web browsers. When enabled, the setting clears web history, cookies, and other browsing breadcrumbs after each session.

Another privacy feature Google announced during the keynote presentation was tied to its newest piece of hardware, the Nest Hub Max smart assistant.

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Hope King
Cheddar
Writer for

Journalist covering jobs, labor, business, tech, culture, and racial equity. Former reporter at CNN and anchor at Cheddar.