Google to offer users the option to auto-delete location history and web search data that it harvests
Google is to give users the choice of being able to automatically delete their search and location history after three months.
It announced the auto-delete tools for location history data, as well as web browsing and app activity, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Last November Google was accused of misleading about location tracking, after consumer groups from seven European nations asked their privacy regulators to take action against the search engine giant.
Consumer groups from the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden, all filed GDPR complaints against Google’s location tracking.
They alleged that Google is tracking the movements of millions of users in breach of the European Union’s privacy laws.
Google of course is already facing a lawsuit in the United States for allegedly tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings.
That lawsuit was filed after an investigation by the Associated Press found that a number of Google services running on Android and Apple devices determine the user’s location and store it, even when Google’s “Location History” setting is switched off.
It should be remembered that Google had already allowed users to manually delete the data it harvests when they use its products such as YouTube, Maps and Search.
But now it trying to give users more control by offering auto-delete tools.
“And when you turn on settings like Location History or Web & App Activity, the data can make Google products more useful for you – like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search,” wrote David Monsees, product manager of search in a blog posting.
“We work to keep your data private and secure, and we’ve heard your feedback that we need to provide simpler ways for you to manage or delete it,” Monsees added.
“You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity, and if you choose – to delete all or part of that data manually,” he wrote. “In addition to these options, we’re announcing auto-delete controls that make it even easier to manage your data.”
Essentially, the user will given a time limit to choose for how long you want your data to be saved. This could be 3 months or 18 months.
Any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis.
“These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks,” Monsees wrote. “You should always be able to manage your data in a way that works best for you–and we’re committed to giving you the best controls to make that happen.”
It should be noted that there will be no auto-delete of YouTube watch history or voice commands issued via Home and Assistant.
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