Google announced new alterations set to come in its default data practices for new users. This includes a significant expansion in the company’s plan to automatically delete data.
This was revealed in a blog post by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai who wrote emphasising on the company’s commitment to privacy, security and user choice. “As we design our products, we focus on three important principles: keeping your information safe, treating it responsibly, and putting you in control,” the blog reads. “Today, we are announcing privacy improvements to help do that.”
This new feature applies to search history (on the web or -in-app), location history and voice commands collected through the Google Assistant or devices like Google Home. All that data is normally logged in My Activity page, where users can see what data points have been collected and manually get rid of specific items.
A new feature was rolled out in 2019 by Google to enable users to automatically delete data points after 3 or 18 months, depending on the chosen setting. To enable the feature, all you have to do is:
- Sign in your Google account on your browser.
- Log on to Google’s My Activity page.
- Scroll down to tap the Auto-Delete option.
- A screen will pop up where you can check out the period that you want your activity deleted automatically.
- Select your preferred schedule then click Next then OK to confirm.
Luckily for new users, this feature will be enabled by default. Google will set web and app searches to auto-delete after 18 months even if users take no action at all. Google’s location history is off by default, but when users turn it on, it will also default to a deletion-schedule of 18 months.
This system also stretches to YouTube history. However, the default will be set to three years to ensure the broader data can be used by the platform’s recommendation algorithms. For this, Auto-delete can be turned on from the Activity Controls page.