Whether it’s fair or not, Google has a reputation for collecting a lot of data about people. To its credit, Google has been making improvements in how it lets users control their privacy. Today, CEO Sundar Pichai announced some changes in how the company handles data for new users.
Pichai announced several privacy improvements to help users better control the data they’re sharing. Google logs Search history, YouTube history, location history, and voice commands through Google Assistant on the My Activity page. Last year, the company made it possible to have this data automatically deleted every 3 months or 18 months. Now, that feature will be enabled by default for new users.
New Google users will have their search history, location history (which is already off by default), and voice commands automatically deleted every 18 months by default. The user doesn’t have to do anything to make this happen. YouTube search history will be set to delete after 3 years to ensure it can “continue to make relevant entertainment recommendations.”
Existing Google accounts won’t have this enabled by default, though the company will begin promoting the option more prevalently on those services. You can adjust the frequency on the Activity controls page (scroll down for the YouTube section).
The company will also be making it easier to check in on your Account controls more easily. Users will be able to simply do a search for “Google Privacy Checkup” and “Is my Google Account secure?” to see a box with your privacy and security settings. And to browse more privately, Incognito Mode will be accessible by simply long-pressing your profile picture in Google Search, Maps, and YouTube.
Data is very valuable to Google’s ad network business, so it’s nice to see the company make some compromises. Obviously, a user’s recent data is the most useful for targeted ads, but it’s still great to be able to scrub older data from your account.