Google is set to change its default settings to auto-delete the records of web and app activities it collects about users after a preset number of months.

Such records, which include a log of website searches and pages visited as well as location data, will now be wiped after 18 months unless otherwise chosen in privacy options set by individual users.

Speaking about the feature on Wednesday, the tech giant said YouTube histories, including data on which clips were watched, will be erased after 36 months.

It noted that the privacy changes would only automatically apply to new accounts while existing users will soon be sent new prompts as to how to go about adjusting their settings.

“We know information makes our products helpful. But data minimisation is one of our important privacy principles. Google will no longer keep activity indefinitely unless you ask us to,” BBC quoted David Monsees, Google product manager, to have said.

Google’s auto-delete policy is coming as its business practices came under increased scrutiny amid criticisms on how it collects and retains data that users don’t even realize it has over long periods.

A year ago, the search engine had introduced the auto-delete controls in which users will be able to automatically delete personal data scooped by the search engine after three or 18 months.

However, this had still left the tech firm still collecting this data indefinitely by default, with users having to find the right toggle in their settings to choose the auto-delete in motion option.

On why it chose to exempt YouTube records from its auto-wipe policy, Google said this would help it do things such as make music recommendations, for which a longer search history was beneficial.

It also added that the new policy would not apply to logs linked to photos, Gmail, and its drive cloud-storage facility, which it said it has not leveraged on for the purpose of targeted adverts.



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