Today, Google announced it is rolling out a new privacy option when it comes to managing tracked activity data. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to tell Google to automatically delete your data after a certain time period.
Currently, you can go in and manually delete your activity data at any time. Going forward, you can instruct Google to auto-delete your data every three months or every 18 months — or continue to delete it yourself whenever you wish.
When the new feature rolls out it will delete your location history and web and app activity. Google will introduce similar auto-delete functionality for other tracked user data in the future.
Check out the screenshot below which gives you an idea of how the new feature works:
Google uses location history and web data to both make things more convenient for the user as well as give more power to advertisers. An example of Google’s use for your location history is to suggest restaurants it thinks you’ll like based on your previous restaurant visits. The reason advertisers like this is fairly self-explanatory.
It’s possible Google is rolling this out in response to tighter general restrictions by the European Commission, which recently instituted the GDPR. By giving users an easy way to auto-delete history, it will make users feel their data isn’t being hoarded while still giving Google at least 90 days of information on any particular user — which should be more than enough for its purposes.
You’ll be able to change these settings in the coming weeks.