The Washington Post is working with Google to improve its search engine, according to a letter from a top Google executive to the newspaper’s publisher, which includes a list of suggestions for ways to improve Google’s search.
In the letter, which was obtained by The Hill, Eric Schmidt, the company’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, said Google has a responsibility to “be more transparent about how it is using its data.”
It is “critical that Google maintain its reputation as a trustworthy, open platform,” Schmidt wrote.
“We’re asking Google to help us ensure that Google is doing more to keep our privacy and security concerns in check and to improve how it uses the data that it collects and shares with us.”
The letter comes on the heels of revelations from Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified information about the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance program.
Schmidt told the Post in an interview that Snowden’s leaks have helped to spur changes to the way Google operates.
“If we’re not careful, we will have a lot more bad things come out of our system,” Schmidt said.
“We want to make sure that our system is as open as possible.
It’s not just about privacy.
It is about transparency, openness, accountability.”
The letter also outlines steps Google is taking to help people better understand how its data is used, and how to help Google keep its users’ data secure.
It includes suggestions to make Google more user-friendly for users, including creating more customizable tools, providing more ways to see how data is being used, making it easier for users to edit their privacy settings and developing a new privacy-focused report.
“I think what we can do as a company is make sure we’re doing everything we can to improve the experience for people,” Schmidt told The Hill.
“That’s really what it comes down to.
It really comes down in the ability to get the most out of the product.”
The revised policy includes new features, including allowing users to share information with others through Google+ and adding a new option to “keep your personal information private” for new users.
Google said it also wants to make its search tools more user accessible and more user controlled.
“Our focus is to build a more accessible and reliable search experience, and we’re taking the time to work with other companies to help make this happen,” Schmidt added.
Google has struggled to maintain its privacy policies after it was forced to disclose to Congress last year how it gathers and uses data collected through its various search and advertising tools.
“The fact that Google has been subject to this much scrutiny over the past decade is a direct result of the companies policies, and a result of their use of data that Google owns and controls,” Schmidt’s letter said.
“Google is committed to being a trustworthy platform for people, and its privacy practices are important to that.”
The Hill has reached out to Google for comment.