Google last May introduced auto-delete controls where your history and activity information is removed after 3 or 18 months. The company today is making this the default behavior across key settings for new users.
When you create a Google Account, there are three Activity controls that save data to “give you more personalized experiences” across products:
- Location History: Saves where you go with your devices, even when you aren’t using a specific Google service, to give you personalized maps, recommendations based on places you’ve visited, and more.
- Web & App Activity: Saves your activity on Google sites and apps, including associated info like location, to give you faster searches, better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.
- YouTube History: Saves the YouTube videos you watch and the things you search for on YouTube to give you better recommendations, remember where you left off, and more.
Starting today, the first time Google users enable Location History — currently off by default, all data will be set to auto-delete after 18 months. The company says that the timespan reflects the seasonality of yearly activities.
New Google Accounts will have Web & App Activity default to the same length, while YouTube History will be set to 36 months by default for first-time users. Previously, both were set to “keep until you delete.”
Google will not change preferences for existing users, but will “actively remind” them about auto-deletion through in-app notifications and emails. Like before, the process will be continuous and occur in the background.
These changes to data retention practices come as CEO Sundar Pichai says Google will “continue to challenge ourselves to do more with less.” Google today also announced that Incognito Mode will soon be a long press away across its Android and iOS apps.
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