Google expanding SafeSearch by blurring explicit images by default

As part of Safer Internet Day, Google is releasing a variety of security features to better protect people as they browse the internet. Chief among these, the SafeSearch filter for underaged users, is expanding and will become a default setting for all.

This means Google Search will automatically blur explicit images appearing in search results even if you don’t have the filter enabled. The reason for the expansion, according to the company (opens in new tab), is to make sure that users, especially minors, don’t inadvertently run into explicit content on Search. Users will be able to either disable the new blur at any time or make it stricter.

As it currently stands, the feature doesn’t mask any texts or links to explicit content. However, looking at the images on Google’s post, it appears you can turn on the new Filter setting to do just that.

Users over the age of 18 will see the new default setting within “the coming months” as it rolls out periodically. Instructions on how to tweak SafeSearch can be found on Google’s Search Help webpage (opens in new tab).

Three new tools

Besides the SafeSearch change, Google is adding three other security tools on its other platforms.

Google Password Manager on the Chrome browser and Android will begin supporting biometric authentication to verify your identity. The announcement states this feature can be used to “securely reveal, copy or edit passwords saved” on the Password Manager without having to type them in every single time.

Next, virtual cards, which are “unique numbers for online transactions [that keep] your payment information safe”, will now be available to “American Express customers” – so long as you’re eligible.

As for the final feature, iOS users will be able to use Face ID to protect their privacy on the Google app and prevent unwanted access. It's unknown if an Android version is in development.

The launch date for these tools is a mystery as Google doesn’t really say if they'll be out soon or months down the line like with the SafeSearch change. We reached out to ask if the company could give us a launch window for three tools. This story will be updated if we hear back.

Over the past couple of years, Google has been consistently working on improving its family-centric features like the revamped Family Link app with updated parental controls and smarter Google TV recommendations. But if you want more, be sure to check TechRadar’s list of the best identity theft protection plans for families. These applications will keep bad actors from accessing sensitive information as well as warn you of any suspicious activities.

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