Google Workspace will re-enable tracking for many users today

By | March 30, 2022


Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Today is the day that Google’s controversial changes to the Google Workspace privacy settings take effect. For paying users of Google Workspace, the organization-wide “Web & App Activity” control is being removed from the administrator control panel and will be split into two different settings. We covered this announcement two months ago, but the new privacy controls started rolling out on Tuesday.

Many confusing changes are happening. First, administrators will no longer have organization-wide control over privacy settings. It will now be up to each user in an organization to hunt down and change the settings themselves. Google will not honor your previous privacy settings when it moves the controls—organizations that previously opted out of tracking will be opted back in to some tracking, and every user will now need to opt out individually.

The second change is the settings split. The tracking previously covered by “Web & App Activity” is being broken into two controls; one is still called “Web & App Activity,” and there’s a new setting called “Search History.” The Web & App Activity setting won’t be switched back on, but since Search History has never technically existed before, it will be turned on by default for every user, even if an organization previously opted out of this tracking when it was under Web & App Activity. Again, administrators can no longer control this setting, so every user in an organization will need to shut off Search History for themselves.

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