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

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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Conversation 13 comments

  • locust infested orchard inc

    01 May, 2019 - 2:40 pm

    <p>This news makes me wanna hug the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.</p><p><br></p><p>Why, or why does the UK wanna leave the EU ? One is always stronger, united.</p><p><br></p><p>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.</p><p><br></p><p>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.</p>

    • Pbike908

      01 May, 2019 - 4:46 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#424824">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Geez…I applaud Google for the changes. However, might I suggest you do what I do which is don't allow Google to store his info PERIOD. I turned all this off more than a year ago and I haven't missed it at all. I use Duck Duck Go on my Windows laptop and use Google on my Android phone.</p>

      • jedwards87

        02 May, 2019 - 10:49 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#424878">In reply to Pbike908:</a></em></blockquote><p>Just don't use Google at all. I don't trust that even though I have turned things off Google is still not tracking me.</p>

      • gartenspartan

        Premium Member
        02 May, 2019 - 11:27 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#424878">In reply to Pbike908:</a></em></blockquote><p>Just using an android phone whether you use google services on it or not gives them free use of a ton of location and usage information. So you have a ways to go to disallow google from keeping information on you. </p>

      • bill_russell

        02 May, 2019 - 2:39 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#424878">In reply to Pbike908:</a></em></blockquote><p>There you go, Google gave you that choice to turn it off.</p><p><br></p><p>I love checking maps timeline and seeing wherever I went, very useful to me. I have yet to see any targeted ads based on other than obvious recent searches and web page visits. Not some visit 5 years ago to a restaurant and suddenly get an ad for it (the horrors).</p><p><br></p><p>If you are worried about law enforcement finding you been near a crime from a google location database, you need to realize if you are just carrying a phone, it can be known.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • Winner

      02 May, 2019 - 2:39 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#424824">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>Now if we could only get rid of ads in our OS from Adsoft.</p>

  • Chris_Kez

    Premium Member
    01 May, 2019 - 3:57 pm

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

  • jedwards87

    02 May, 2019 - 10:48 am

    <p>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%</p>

    • bill_russell

      02 May, 2019 - 2:28 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#425102">In reply to jedwards87:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, I do. Not that I'd actually really care, just that if they are going to say they do, then I expect it.</p>

  • webdev511

    Premium Member
    02 May, 2019 - 11:58 am

    <p>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.</p>

  • beatnixxx

    Premium Member
    02 May, 2019 - 12:03 pm

    <p>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.</p>

  • Andi

    02 May, 2019 - 1:28 pm

    <p>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.</p>

  • bill_russell

    02 May, 2019 - 2:19 pm

    <p>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.</p><p><br></p>


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