Google to Allow Auto-Deleting of Location History and Activity Data

Posted on May 1, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google with 13 Comments

In a move that appears aimed at appeasing privacy-conscious antitrust regulators, Google today said it will limit how long it stores your location and activity data.

“When you turn on settings like Location History or Web & App Activity, the data can make Google products more useful for you—like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search,” a new post to Google’s Safety and Security blog explains. “We work to keep your data private and secure, and we’ve heard your feedback that we need to provide simpler ways for you to manage or delete it.”

Today, Google account holders can access on/off controls for both location history and web and application activity data. And they can choose to delete all or part of that data at any time. But now Google is saying that it will provide new auto-delete controls that will automatically remove this data over set periods of time.

“Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved—3 or 18 months—and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis,” Google says.

This functionality will roll out for both location history and web and application activity data in the coming weeks, Google says.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Google to Allow Auto-Deleting of Location History and Activity Data”

  1. locust infested orchard inc

    This news makes me wanna hug the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

    Why, or why does the UK wanna leave the EU ? One is always stronger, united.

    One caviat though, Google ought to grant the user considerably greater auto-delete granular control over the longevity of location history and web and application activity data stored. Having two time periods, at 3 and 18 months, is Google flamboyantly showcasing its lecherous appetite for hanging onto users' data.

    We demand, at a bare minimum, the choice for our data to be auto-scrubbed off Google's grubby paws at 24 hour intervals, with appropriate options up to a week, and thereafter numerous options during the course of a month.

  2. Chris_Kez

    I'd like some explanation from Google about how this impacts the user experience, and about how they use that data over time.

    I also wonder whether this actually makes any difference for Google and their advertising business. Three months of rolling data is plenty to build a targeting model and then tune it; no need to keep the raw inputs longer than necessary.

  3. jedwards87

    Does anyone really trust that Google deletes this info ? I know I don't. I only trust Google slightly more than I trust FB and I trust FB 0%

  4. webdev511

    Three Months? How about offer two weeks or less. I don't care how it impacts the user experience. My data, my privacy. Just because Google wants to target me, doesn't mean I want to be targeted. "Oh but what about this thing that's totally relevant to you?" Don't care. Don't care, don't care.

  5. beatnixxx

    I expect them to ignore this setting just like they've done with turned-off location services for the last 10 years, give or take.

  6. Andi

    Google is more trustworthy than your average bank, medical insurer or gov institution. Data there is more precious and impacting than Google knowing your search habits. Stop falling for Apple's scroogled campaign. Google absolutely protects your privacy and in turn you're sharpening for yourself the best internet services available.

  7. bill_russell

    The "trust" comes in the form of them not getting hacked, and I trust Google probably more than anyone with that, including myself. Its nice to be fully aware of what data is stored and for how long with the ability to control that, though.

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