Google ‘New’ Account Owners Will Automatically Get Their Web & App Activity, Location, and YouTube History Wiped

Google is making some fundamental changes to the way and duration user data is stored and deleted. All new Google account holders will have their history and data wiped automatically with no user intervention or explicit permissions. The company has promised to improve the ways in which users can safeguard their data from the long-term collection, storage, and processing. It is, however, important to note that all these new self-promoted steps to protect user privacy will be available to new Google account users only.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced some fundamental changes in the way the company handles data for new users. Pichai announced several privacy improvements which will help users have much better and stricter control over the data they’re creating and sharing. Essentially, all new Google account creators will have the majority of their data set to be erased after a particular time-lapse. In other words, Google has agreed not to hold the user data in perpetuity.

How Will New Google Account Users Benefit From The Improved Privacy Data Storage Policies?

Google, just like the majority of large tech companies with millions of active users, actively collects, stores, and processes user information. The companies claim the data is used to improve services and offer a better platform that has a higher level of understanding of the user. However, many privacy advocates are concerned about the long-term storage of user data, and the occasional breach that results in stolen information.

Understanding the need to protect user data and offering a way to delete the same, Google has been making improvements in how it lets users control their privacy. Last year, the company made it possible to have the user data automatically deleted every 3 months or 18 months. Now, the same feature will be enabled by default for new users without needing any specific permission or request.

Google logs Search history, YouTube history, location history, and voice commands through Google Assistant on the My Activity page. Older users still have to make a specific request to delete their data. In other words, there’s no benefit of the new policy to existing users. However, the company will begin promoting the option more prevalently on those services. Users can adjust the frequency on the Activity controls page (scroll down for the YouTube section).

New Google account users will have their search history, location history, and voice commands automatically deleted every 18 months by default. Incidentally, the Location History is off by default, and Google’s services, including Android OS, ensure that users can grant timebound permission to activate and use the location data. Under the new policy, a new Google account user doesn’t have to do anything to make this happen.

While the majority of user data will reportedly be deleted after 18 months, Google is retaining ‘YouTube Search History’ for a lot longer period of time. Google has indicated that YouTube search history will be set to delete after 3 years. The company claims the extra retention period is to ensure it can “continue to make relevant entertainment recommendations.”

Google To Simplify Periodic User-Audit Of Account Privacy And Offer Easier Controls As Well:

In addition to the new policy, Google will also be making it easier to periodically check in on Account controls more easily. Users will be able to simply search for “Google Privacy Checkup” and “Is my Google Account secure?” to see a box with the relevant privacy and security settings.

Users who frequently need the ‘Incognito’ mode to surf the web without being tracked and data collected, will have simpler controls. To browse more privately, Incognito Mode will be accessible by simply long-pressing user’s profile picture in Google Search, Maps, and YouTube.


Alap Naik Desai

A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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