Google’s default data practices are going to change soon. The company made that clear on Wednesday. New users will be able to make the most of the new changes. Plus, Google is also more open about deleting the data automatically, and we have more details about that.
According to CEO Sundar Pichai, the privacy, security, and user’s choice are strongly viewed by the company. The announcement comes in a blog post.
“As we design our products, we focus on three important principles: keeping your information safe, treating it responsibly, and putting you in control,” Pichai wrote. “Today, we are announcing privacy improvements to help do that.”
The auto-delete feature applies to the following:
- Search history. That includes on the web or in-app,
- Location history,
- Voice commands collected through the Google Assistant,
- Other devices. For example, Google Home.
Google users can also delete the data manually. Google logs that data in its My Activity page, making it possible to trace what data points have been collected. Therefore, the user can delete any items they wish. Looking back at the history of Google, we can see that the data was retained indefinitely. However, last year that changed. The company has introduced a system by which the data points were deleted automatically. Users were provided with two options. They could either delete this data after three or 18 months.
However, starting June 24, those settings will be on by default for new users. But what does that mean? It means that the big giant will set web and app searches to auto-delete after 18 months. If the user takes no action at all, the data will automatically be deleted. For example, Google’s location history is off by default. However, if the user turns it on, the same rule will apply to this app. The data will also default to an 18-month deletion schedule.
Please note that the new changes will only apply to new users by default. If you already have a Google account, then you won’t see any settings change. In order to encourage users to examine their auto-delete settings, the company is promoting the new feature on the search page as well as on the YouTube platform. If you want to turn on the auto-delete feature, go to the Activity Controls page.
Google’s system works on the YouTube history as well. However, the data will be automatically deleted after three years. You might think this is a long period of time, and indeed it is. However, it is necessary to ensure the broader data can be used by the platform’s recommendation algorithms.
The new auto-delete feature was designed to take into consideration the privacy interests of users as well as Google’s business interests as an ad network. In other words, this small compromise keeps the business going while respecting the user’s privacy.
The most recent data has great value. Google can use it to target people interested in a particular product. Therefore, keeping the last 18 months of information, the company is able to keep most of the ad network value. On the other, it will also delete most of the data that would otherwise be available.
However, the default settings are not the only new changes that Google came out with. The company also introduced an easier way of accessing Chrome’s Incognito mode. Mobile users are allowed to switch to Incognito mode with a long-press on their profile picture. Starting June 24, the feature is available on iOS. However, it will soon be available on Android OS and other platforms.
What do you think about Google’s auto-delete data expansion? The company just confirmed another one regarding the Password Checkup tool earlier this week.