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Google auto-delete now set by default

Sam Arnold

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google privacy auto-delete activity
Image source: https://blog.google/technology/safety-security/keeping-private-information-private

Data protection is very important. Google is making changes to give more attention to this sensitive matter. Google will start deleting collected and stored information on user activities by default. CEO Sundar Pichai announced such improvements in the company blog

Google introduced auto-deletion for periods of 3 months or 18 months last year. Users can also delete their history on their own. Now, Google will start deleting Location History and Web & App Activity every 18 months. The default duration for YouTube History is 36 months. Users can decide to turn the settings off anytime. 

But this will not be available to all users. Only new accounts will have this default function. Location History and Web & App Activity settings will not change if they are already turned on. Google will give provide reminders about the auto-delete controls through emails or notifications. This will let them change their deletion settings. 

For YouTube, this new default will also apply if the user turns on the History setting for the first time. This update will not affect Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. These services are for the storage of personal content. 

Websites and online services store information about the activities of users. This is standard practice. Google retains data to improve and give more personalized experiences in its services. For example, the users’ history helps find particular locations faster on Maps. Favorite places like restaurants and bars would be easier to locate. YouTube History helps make recommendations on videos to watch on YouTube. Users will know if new episodes on their favorite channels are already available. Searches will show more relevant results because of the information. 

In the statement, the CEO stated that they follow key product development principles. They are careful with how they handle and protect information. Giving users control is also highlighted. With the changes announced, they believe data retention activities will improve. They do not sell information or stored personal content to advertisers, he stressed. 

The access to Incognito mode will also improve. It will be easier to activate. Pressing on the user profile picture in Search, Maps, and YouTube for a few seconds will set it. This feature is already available on Google App for iOS. Android and other apps will have it soon. Google plans to have this feature available in all its apps in the future.

Privacy and security settings will also be easier to change when using Search. You can look up “Google Privacy Checkup” or “Is my Google Account secure?” and a box will come up. You can view your settings and make adjustments in this box. This will work for signed-in searches. Users will also get recommendations and tips to help them manage privacy settings.

Password security will also improve. Password Checkup will soon become an important part of the Security Checkup. The Password Checkup feature lets users check if account passwords are still safe to use. This not only ensures security not only on Google but also on using other sites. 

Arnold is a senior British tech reporter at Tekrati. Before joining Tekrati, Arnold worked as an editor for his University Newspaper, writing sharable content for a student audience. Sam loves movies, running, and anything written by Oliver Sacks. The drink he chose is tea, which he does not recommend in large quantities.

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