What I want to see from Google in 2024

Android figures
(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

As 2023 draws to a close I've spent some time thinking about the things I wanted to see from Google next year. I've got a lot of thoughts here, but noticed they all have the same root issue — Google is not transparent enough.

Data and privacy concerns are a big part of any discussion about the digital world we live in, and that means tech giants like Google are facing more and more pressure to prioritize transparency. The year 2023 saw an increased demand for accountability and clarity from users worldwide. As we venture into 2024, it's imperative for Google to reevaluate its transparency practices to foster trust and maintain its position as a leader in the tech landscape.

Android & Chill

Android Central mascot

(Image credit: Future)

One of the web's longest-running tech columns, Android & Chill is your Saturday discussion of Android, Google, and all things tech.

Transparency, or the lack thereof, has been a recurring issue for Google. Users often grapple with uncertainties surrounding data collection, algorithmic processes, and the use of personal information for targeted advertising. To address these concerns head-on, Google must embark on a path of increased openness and clarity.

Firstly, enhancing transparency in data collection practices is pivotal. Users are becoming increasingly aware of the sheer volume of data amassed by tech companies. Google needs to provide clearer insights into the types of data collected, the purposes behind their collection, and the duration for which it's retained. Detailed explanations, easily accessible to users, would be a significant step towards fostering trust.

Google Privacy Policy

(Image credit: Android Central)

Additionally, transparency in algorithmic decision-making is essential. Google's algorithms wield immense power, impacting search results, ad targeting, and content curation. Offering users more visibility into how these algorithms function, the factors considered, and the steps taken to ensure fairness and accuracy would ease concerns about biases or manipulation.

Striking a balance between personalization and privacy is crucial. Google's proficiency in delivering personalized experiences is undeniable, but it's equally important to empower users with comprehensive control over their data. Implementing user-friendly controls that allow individuals to manage their data preferences effectively is a cornerstone of transparency in the digital age.

Google can further augment transparency through proactive communication. Regular, plain-language updates on privacy policies, security measures, and any changes therein can fortify user trust. More importantly, though, the company should also provide meaningful explanations for the purposes behind any changes, assuring users that their concerns are heard and addressed.

Bard at Google IO 2023

(Image credit: Android Central)

Another crucial aspect is shedding light on the use of AI and machine learning. Google heavily relies on these technologies, and explaining how they're employed while ensuring ethical considerations are upheld is paramount. Clearly defining the boundaries within which AI operates and the ethics guiding its implementation can ease fears of automation running amok.

Furthermore, fostering transparency in partnerships and collaborations is vital. Users deserve to know about third-party involvements, data-sharing agreements, and how their information might be used beyond Google's ecosystem. Establishing stringent guidelines and holding potential partners to Google's own transparency standards is something users deserve.

While advocating for enhanced transparency, Google must navigate various challenges. Balancing transparency with proprietary interests, safeguarding lawful competitive advantages, and adhering to regulatory frameworks without compromising innovation requires a delicate balance.

The year 2024 holds immense potential for Google to elevate its transparency practices. Prioritizing user trust through increased openness, clear communication, and user empowerment will not only align with our ever-evolving expectations but also strengthen Google's position as a responsible steward of our data. 

Embracing transparency isn't just a step forward in restoring trust—it's a commitment to a more accountable and ethical digital future.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • RobertPruitt
    I want to see Google stop updating features, and start actually fixing, or reversing, the updates they have done.
    Every update literally makes at least one thing worse.

    Google absolutely trashed the Fitbit app in about 10 different ways.
    And how about fixing their voice typing. It's only been screwed up for years. Why does it still randomly stop trying the last word you say, especially in the YT app?
  • edubfromktown
    Consistent Android and ChromeOS operating system & security updates that are better than junior high school wood shop creations!!