Google has recently announced a major advancement to its privacy policies regarding the handling and retention of user data. A new blog post has indicated that the company has added a new option to automatically delete user’s search information, voice commands, and location data. Point to be noted that the move will delete data after 18 months since capture. Moreover, YouTube activity will be kept on file for 36 months by default. The company says it will ensure viewers are served the most relevant content. Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai said, “As we design our products, we focus on three important principles: keeping your information safe, treating it responsibly, and putting you in control. Today, we are announcing privacy improvements to help do that”.
The auto-delete controls from the company have been in place since last year and it will be turned on by default for new users. Existing Google Account holders will need to manually activate the auto-delete function from the Activity Controls panel. Google’s new data retention policies are part of a wider campaign to deliver improved user privacy and data security. The company has taken steps to bolster the security of popular video conferencing service Google Meet in recent months. It will protect users against coronavirus-related scams and mitigate the privacy risk posed by facial recognition technology. Pichai said, “We believe that products should keep your information for only as long as it’s useful and helpful to you – whether that’s being able to find your favorite destinations in Maps or getting recommendations for what to watch on YouTube”.
Pichai added, “We continue to challenge ourselves to do more with less”. The company also took the opportunity to unveil a host of smaller changes designed to make it easier for users to access privacy controls and improve account security. Google Privacy Checkup will return a personalized widget that allows users to make quick tweaks to their account controls. Users need only press and hold on their profile picture, accessing Incognito mode within Google’s most popular apps, including YouTube, Search, and Maps. Google’s Password Checkup tool will also be integrated into the Security Checkup service within the coming weeks.