June 16, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Google to Auto-Delete Data by Default For New Accounts

2 min read

(Photo via Google)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday announced a slew of privacy improvements, including changes to the company’s data retention practices. Auto-delete controls—introduced last year to automatically and continuously clear Location History, search, voice, and YouTube activity every three or 18 months—are now the default.

Moving forward, the first time you turn on Location History and Web & App Activity, the auto-delete option will be set to 18 months as standard—meaning data gets wiped every year and a half, rather than kept until you manually delete it. Users can, of course, turn off these settings or tweak their choices. Google won’t change anything for those with the options already activated. The company will, however, remind you about auto-delete controls through notifications and emails.

“As we introduce default retention to more products, we’re guided by the principle that products should keep information only for as long as it’s useful to you,” according to Pichai, who revealed that YouTube auto-delete is set to 36 months (three years) when creating a new account or turning on YouTube History for the first time.

“This improved upon current industry practice and ensures that YouTube can continue to make relevant entertainment recommendations based on what you’ve watched or listened to in the past,” Pichai continued. “Like letting you know if your favorite series has released another season, or when your favorite artist drops a new album.”

Current YouTubers can still choose the three or 18 months option. Default retention periods, meanwhile, do not apply to other products like Gmail, Drive, and Photos, which are already designed to safely store personal content.

Other privacy updates include easier review and adjustment of account settings from Search, swifter access to Incognito mode via popular apps, and more proactive controls. Plus, Password Checkup—Google’s tool for ensuring saved passwords aren’t compromised—will soon join one-stop shop Security Checkup.

“As we make privacy and security advances in our own products, we continue to advocate for sensible data regulations around the world, including strong, comprehensive federal privacy legislation in the US,” Pichai wrote. “While policymakers continue their work, we will continue ours—by challenging ourselves to make helpful products with less data, and raise the bar on privacy for everyone.”

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