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Google asks: where do you go for help with staying safe online?

Web browsing

Which? and Google have partnered up to deliver free training to help people stay safe online. Ronan Harris, Managing Director of Google UK and Ireland, has joined us as a guest author to explain how this partnership could help you…

With the majority of us spending more of our time online and the ability to shop via mobile is easier than ever, online security has never been more important.

Internet safety

According to the Office of National Statistics, online fraud is the most common crime in the country. In fact, you are 20 times more likely to be robbed online than you are on the street.

It is for these reasons that our teams at Google partnered with Which? to launch a new course in web safety that’s designed to empower you to feel more confident online.

We believe Google has a responsibility to teach people how to stay safe in what can sometimes seem an extremely daunting online world.

The ‘Stay Safe Online in 2017’ course is designed to push simple and effective solutions further into public awareness so that more internet users can make smart and responsible choices online.

These courses include bite-sized sessions that teach you how to manage personal information including online bank accounts, passwords and advice on how to stay safe when shopping online.

They will be delivered as part of Google’s Digital Garage initiative which provides tailored digital skills training to anyone. Whether you are a small business owner, a student or even a grandparent taking your first steps in the online world, and it’s all offered without having to pay a penny.

Staying safe and secure

We’re excited to be working with Which? as their respected influence and a strong understanding of consumers will help us on our mission to provide a safer online environment, that is accessible to all.

The courses are currently available at the Digital Garage pop-ups on the High Street in Sheffield and Birmingham, with plans to launch it as an online course in the near future.

So, do you know how to stay safe online? Where do you go for help and tips on online security?

This is a guest contribution by Ronan Harris, Managing Director of Google UK and Ireland. All views expressed here are Ronan’s own.


Thanks, Ronan. The internet has given us many innovations such as the ability to bank and shop online, but it has also presented new challenges. We regularly hear from consumers who have been caught out by online scams, with many people losing money as a result.

We are delighted that we will be involved in this project and look forward to helping as many people as possible build their knowledge about how to stay safe online.


If one were in cynical mood, one might wonder about such an alliance, especially since Which distance themselves from the briefing by adding their italicised comment below. However, cynicism aside, any enlightenment on internet safety is to be welcomed, as is the free nature of the course on offer. I have posted elsewhere on the lack of progress by those whose job it is to track and catch the internet villains, and do feel that the internet vulnerable might be better protected by an increased effort here. Perhaps Google has done a profile of the likely applicants to study with them. Perhaps they are intending to advertise this more widely and, maybe people will see this and study. Being susceptible to scams and falling for them might be part of a profile of some who would not see/wish to make the effort to study safety on line. Google will see what the uptake is and how best to attract students. As a tool to persuade people to do more on line than they might otherwise do, it could be counterproductive unless lessons are headed and the scammers become less devious. Good luck with the project.


Hi Vynor – all guest convos include the italicised note at the end. It’s just a reminder that Convo publishes opinion pieces from guest authors, but Which? doesn’t necessarily agree with all of these opinions or all of the guests 🙂

I hope to share a link to the online resources we’ve collated soon


@Lauren, Hello – I’ve had quite a good day today so cannot blame the grumps for my comment. The Convo begins “ Which? and Google have partnered up to deliver free training to help people stay safe online.” So I would have thought as you are partners you would have debated and then agreed with what is being said. If you don’t agree with Ronan then Which? perhaps should not be a partner to this. 🙂


Without the disclaimer, I expect some hypercritical contributor would be in there criticising Which? for working with a commercial organisation.


Sorry Malcolm, I missed your comment as I’m @ldeitz 🙂 haven’t had the chance to meet @lauren, but she beat me to the username!

I’m not sure what you mean with regards to debating the issue – we often invite guests to come and write about issues that we’re both working on, that may be an MP who is supporting our campaigns or even CEOs who are taking action on consumer issues. We’re participating in the discussion here on Convo, so I’m not sure that it would be necessary for us to outline positions in the convo that’s been written by Ronan.


@ldeitz, I should have known better. Sorry Lauren Deitz 🙂 I was suggesting that as this intro begins “Which? and Google have partnered up” that you were both in agreement on the topic and should therefore share the views expressed by Ronan. Otherwise why enter into a partnership?

I understand the disclaimer being used when you have a guest contributor who is speaking solely on their own behalf.


I see. I suppose the opening is to scene set and explain why we’ve invited Google to come and share the news.

John Ward says: