Whether fair or not, Google has a reputation for collecting a lot of data about people. To his credit, Google has been making improvements to how it allows users to control their privacy. Today, CEO Sundar Pichai announced some changes to the way the company handles data for new users.
Pichai announced several privacy enhancements to help users better control the data they share. Google records search history, YouTube history, location history, and voice commands through the Google Assistant on the My Activity page. Last year, the company made it possible for this data to be 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 disabled by default) and voice commands automatically removed every 18 months by default. The user does not have to do anything to make this happen. YouTube’s search history will be removed after 3 years to ensure you can “continue to make relevant entertainment recommendations.”
Existing Google accounts will not have this enabled by default, although the company will start promoting the option more frequently on those services. You can adjust the frequency on the Activity controls page (scroll down to YouTube section).
The company will also make it easier to record your account controls. Users can 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 navigate more privately, incognito mode can be accessed simply by long-pressing your profile photo in Google Search, Maps and YouTube.
The data is invaluable to Google’s ad network business, so it’s good to see the company make some compromises. Obviously, a user’s recent data is most useful for targeted ads, but it’s still great to be able to remove the oldest data from their account.