Google offers a lot of services, and therefore collects a lot of personal data. Whether it’s browsing history on Chrome, viewing history on YouTube or location history on Maps, the company has a good idea of who a user is and what they’re into. That data can help to personalize experiences, but it can also lead to privacy and security concerns. The company says it will now delete new users’ history after 18 months -- on a rolling basis -- by default.
Last year, Google started to let users automatically delete their history after three or 18 months, but this was not enabled by default. Instead, they had to choose an auto-delete option or manually delete their history. Now, existing users may see reminders that they can use this feature, but the company won’t change their settings.
18 months seems like a reasonable amount of time. Google will be able to use historical data to personalize experiences, such as video suggestions on YouTube, but won’t necessarily have a trove of information about the user’s life. The ability to specify how long Google could keep one’s data, rather than only having the two choices of three or 18 months, but this move is a step in the right direction.