Google has decided to strengthen its privacy settings by automatically deleting web surfers’ search and location history after 18 months, the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed earlier in the week.
While heavy fines have been imposed on Facebook and Google for privacy violations in recent years, the American internet giant hopes to boost user confidence by introducing this modification, which will be effective as of now.
“We believe that products should only keep your information for as long as it is useful to you,” Pichai said, adding that it was about “keeping less data by default.”
When you create a new Google Account, “your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, instead of being kept until you choose to delete it,” Pichai explained.
Current users, can already choose to automatically delete their data every three or 18 months, but they will now be reminded of the option.
YouTube users, a Google affiliate, will also have their search data automatically deleted after 36 months, said Pichai.
Smartphone tracing technology has been the focus of attention since the coronavirus pandemic, which have prompted governments worldwide to develop apps to trace infected people, raising concerns on privacy and freedoms.
Pichai, who also runs Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said that “privacy is at the heart of everything we do.” He detailed other changes, including easier access to privacy settings in apps and safer “incognito” mode.