Google revamps its Security Checkup feature with personalized suggestions for your account

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Silenced by ‘free speech’

Google today is rolling out a revamped version of its longtime Security Checkup feature – a service that helps users make sure their Google accounts are safe by checking those items that could impact your account’s security. This includes connected apps, connected devices, account permissions and other things. Now, Security Checkup will be improved by offering more personalized suggestions, says Google.

Before, the Security Checkup would offer the same, passive checklist for everyone – meaning you’d have to go through each suggestion to make sure your account was safe, even if not all items would have impacted you. With the new version of Security Checkup, the guide is tailored to you with personal recommendations about what to fix.

For example, you might be informed that some of the third-party apps connected to your Google account are not secure, and given the option to remove them. Or you may be prompted to remove your account for older devices, or set up additional account verification methods.

The Checkup page will also, at a glance, give you an idea about the overall health of your account by flagging the Security Checkup shield with either a green checkmark (if things are good) or yellow or red exclamation point, based on how many items need to be taken care of.

None of the suggestions in Security Checkup are new to the service, to be clear – the difference is in the personalization and how the information is presented.

You may be surprised by some of Security Checkup’s results, which can be at times overly alarming. For instance, it suggested that I was using apps that have “extensive access” to my personal information and had not been verified by Google. This included services I had been using as add-ons to my Gmail, like Boomerang’s smart calendar assistant, Clearbit Connect’s email address finder, and Evercontact’s automatic address book updater.

While it’s true that these add-ons do require heightened access to Google’s services to work, they’re from reputable enough companies and provide features that improve the Gmail experience. So it’s frustrating to find that they’re all flagged as being from an “unverified” developer – generally, a cause for concern. There’s no way to whitelist them, either, so you’ll never get the green checkmark if you decide to keep them installed.

The Checkup feature also flagged a security issue because my account is associated with my Google Pixel XL – a phone I have around for testing purposes, but haven’t used in a month. Again, i can’t tell the Security Checkup feature that I’m okay with this, and to not warn me about the phone any more (or at least for some period of time).

That means my account will be forever yellow exclamation point-flagged, if I don’t follow through on Google’s recommendations.

Still, it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than excuse potential risks, I suppose!

The new version of Security Checkup is available now at g.co/securitycheckup.