To take full advantage of Google services, Web & App Activity and Location History often have to be enabled on an account and device. At the same time, the company has been working to give end users more control over their privacy, and today is introducing an auto-delete feature.
At the moment, users can choose to enable/disable Location History or Web & App Activity, as well as delete manually. A less invasive option lets you choose a specific time period to remove.
Moving forward, visiting the My Activity page for either of these two settings will present a card that notes how long activity is being kept for. A new “Choose how long to keep” page will present the three options.
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.
Once selected, you have to confirm your choice, with information older than 3 or 18 months removed once auto-delete is set up for the first time. This deletion process will be ongoing and happen in the background. Google will preview what information is scheduled to be cleared.
Auto-delete comes as Google last year made it easier to control and delete your data through shortcuts in products, starting with Search. It’s in response to feedback that the company received for “simpler ways for you to manage or delete” personal data.
Location History allows for “personalized maps, recommendations based on places you’ve visited, help finding your phone, real-time traffic updates about your commute, and more useful ads.” Meanwhile, Web & App Activity is more geared towards interactions with services, like Google Assistant.
This new preference is coming first to Location History, with Web & App Activity following “in the coming weeks.”
Update 6/26: First detailed in early May and mentioned again at I/O 2019, the ability to auto-delete your Google Account’s Location History is rolling out starting today.
— Google (@Google) June 26, 2019