Google will now roll out auto-delete controls for Location History and Web & App Activity and let users to decide how long they want their activity data to be saved – 3 months or 18 months. Any data prior to that will be deleted. Last year, Google was found tracking users’ location data even when their location history option was off. Google continued to track users via apps like Google Maps, weather updates, and browser searches. By turning off Location History, Google only stopped adding users’ movements to its Timeline feature, but continued to track their location.
It’s worth noting that users can already turn off web and app activity, which is enabled by default, but the process is laborious. The new feature deletes data for both location history and web & app activity. Google is rolling this out in the coming weeks and has indicated that the delete option may be available for more types of user data.
Companies often hold back on functionality if certain settings are not enabled, and only provide the complete service if users allow them to access their data. For instance, Google does not provide users a fully personalised Google Assistant experience unless Web & App Activity, Device information, and Voice & Audio settings are turned on.