By now, I bet most of us know that Google collects a boatload of digital data on us. It has information about all of your Google searches, location history, and well, let’s not forget YouTube history as well. The company gave users an option to auto-delete this data after fixed intervals of time earlier last year. Now, it is taking an important step today to perk up your privacy.
In an official blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces important changes to how the company handles your data. The biggest change of all is that the data auto-delete feature will be enabled by default for new users. It’s not like Google won’t collect your activity across the web. Instead, it will set auto-delete periods for each activity by default.
First up, if you turn on ‘Location History’ to see where you have been with your device and receive recommendations based on your past data then Google will set its data to auto-delete after 18 months. The same is the case with your ‘Web & App’ history, which saves data from across Google search and its app suite. Its data will also vanish after 18 months by default.
YouTube history, on the other hand, will be retained for 36 months by default. This is because Google can then help shape your music and other video recommendations in line with your preferences. “Default retention periods will not apply to other products like Gmail, Drive, and Photos, which are designed to safely store your personal content,” says Pichai in the blog post. And well, that’s perfectly understandable.
As for existing users, Google is now trying to hide the new privacy controls from you to log more data on you. Instead, the company “will actively remind you about the auto-delete controls through in-product notifications and emails” if you have Web & App and Location Activity turned on.
You can also search for ‘Google Privacy Checkup‘ or ‘Is my Google account secure’ in the search engine to see a personalized card that lets you easily tweak all your privacy controls. You can still choose to auto-delete data after 3 months or stop data collection altogether. Here’s also a handy guide to set up auto-delete for your Google account. It will delete the account after a certain period of inactivity.
It’s good to see Google turn off data collection by default for its new users. This move from the company comes a couple of days after the iOS 14 announcement. We recently shared how iOS 14 privacy practices are a notch above Android in the video attached below: