Alphabet Inc.’s Google has revealed that it would roll out a feature that would enable users to delete their location history and web browsing data automatically. This new privacy-enhancing would allow users to remove the location and web activity information automatically, at regular intervals.
Automatic Delete Control Feature to Be Made Available on Google
Google has been known to offer users the option of turning off their location history, and web and app activity. The company also allows its users to delete data generated from searches and the use of other services manually.
However, this latest development means that this data can be deleted automatically from devices at regular intervals. It implies that Google will hold a user’s data for a certain period of time before it is automatically removed. Google pointed out that the service would be rolled out in the coming weeks, adding that people should be able to manage their data in a way that best works for them.
According to its blog post, Google explained that a user would need to choose a time frame for how long they want their activity to be saved. The period ranges from 3 to 18 months. Any data older than that would be removed from a user’s account on a regular basis, the company added.
Google explained how the service would work in a video posted on its Twitter timeline. According to Google product managers, this latest development is as a result of feedback provided by its users regarding how best to manage data.
Set it and forget it: Rolling out soon to your Google Account, new auto-delete controls will make it even easier to manage your Location History and activity data → https://t.co/IkOP6srCjA pic.twitter.com/DIzQ4yJZrA
— Google (@Google) May 1, 2019
The product managers maintain that they would continue working to keep users’ data private and safe. They added that the company is committed to giving users the best controls to ensure that their data remains private and secure.
Google Not Relinquishing Total Control
While Google will allow users to delete their location history and web activity data automatically, the company is not relinquishing full control. The fact that automatic removal isn’t immediate will enable Google to hold a user’s data for a brief period. The user data is crucial for Google’s targeted ads, which is a multi-billion dollar revenue stream for the company.
The web activity and location history data of users are crucial to Google’s advertising business. According to Google’s Safety Center Web page, the company uses search and location history to help third parties run targeted ads.
It also provides other information to third-party companies such as the websites, videos, and apps used by users. According to the first earnings report of the year, Google generated over $30 billion from its advertising venture.
Tech giants including Google, Twitter, and Facebook have been under pressure for privacy concerns over the past few years. The automatic removal feature has received positive reviews on the Twitter thread. Several users described it as a welcomed development as they won’t have to delete their search and location history manually.
Google, which also runs the popular Google Chrome browser, could be catching on to the emerging trend of privacy-focused applications and taking preventive steps to ensure it doesn’t lose market share. Brave is an innovative and secure browser that wants to reward its users by paying them a share of advertising revenues in crypto. It has been gaining a lot of attention recently and is a direct competitor to Google Chrome.
Demand for and interest in VPN services, the popular privacy tools, has surged recently due to government surveillance and censorship (like the porn ban set to be implemented in the UK this July), and big tech privacy violations such as the revelation that Amazon employees listen to its customers Alexa conversations.