Google Will Let Users Automatically Delete Their Location and Activity Data

With its newly-unveiled auto-delete controls

It’s important to know how to use Google wisely and adjust your privacy settings to suit you. Raquel Beauchamp; Source: Getty Images, Google
Headshot of Ronan Shields

“Privacy” has been the buzzword of the digital advertising industry in recent years, with the sector’s largest data hoarders having to bow to the increasingly audible privacy lobby (to a certain extent).

Google is easily the sector’s largest company by revenue and it’s increasingly aware of the need for it to placate this lobby (albeit without breaking the wider digital advertising ecosystem) and yesterday it unveiled tools to aid that.

In a blog post co-penned by Google’s David Monsees, product manager, search and Mario McGriff, product manager, search, the duo revealed new ways for users to manage their search history with tools based on user feedback.

Google users will soon be able to set auto-delete controls on their devices by choosing a time limit for how long they want their activity data to be saved, thus any data older than that will be automatically deleted from their account on an ongoing basis.

This is in addition to existing Google Account controls that let users manually turn tracking technologies off, as well as manually delete their historical usage data.

“These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks,” reads the post. “You should always be able to manage your data in a way that works best for you–and we’re committed to giving you the best controls to make that happen.”

The announcement comes the same week as its duopoly stablemate Facebook unfurled its privacy-centric ambitions at its F8 developer conference. These were designed on the back of a two-year period that has seen ‘the biggest cultural shift at Facebook’, according to the social network’s vp of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson.

Such announcements come as North American regulators increasingly turn their sights on updating how such tech platforms use data to improve ad targeting and tracking to bolster their lucrative advertising businesses with a U.S. federal privacy law similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act expected in the near future.

@ronan_shields Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.