It’s no secret that unless you are very careful about what you opt-in to, Google keeps a very detailed record of your location history and a log of the web sites you visit in Chrome and apps you use. There have always been ways to fully opt out of this or to painstakingly delete these records manually. Yet while there are plenty of reasons to opt out, you also miss out on many of Google’s personalization features. As a middle ground, Google today announced that you can now auto-delete your location history and web and app activity by setting a time limit for how long Google can save this data.
Google will give you two options for this time limit: 3 or 18 months. Any data that is older than that will be automatically deleted. With this, you will still get recommendations, but the extent of your personal data that’s stored on Google’s servers and can be used by the company will be limited. The recommendations, too, will only be based on the limited recent data you still share, so they won’t be as precise as before, but should still be useful.
For now, this feature is launching for location history, as well as web and app activity. That includes your Chrome browsing history, for example, as well as your notification history from Google’s Discover feature on Android, locations you searched for in Google Maps, apps you used and more.
This is still plenty of other data in your Google Account, though, that isn’t included in this auto-delete service. There’s your voice and audio activity, for example, as well as your YouTube search and watch history. Over time, though, I’d expect Google to add these to the list of auto-deleting items, too.