Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.
Stephen Lam | Reuters
On Tuesday, Google began rolling out a new feature that allows you to configure how long it can save data from all of the Google services you use, like maps, search, and everything you do online.
Until now, you had to manually go in and delete this data or turn it off entirely. But deleting it means Google doesn’t always have enough information about you to make recommendations on what it thinks you’ll like, or where you might want to go.
Now, you can tell Google to automatically delete personal information after 3 months or 18 months. Here’s how you can do that.
- Visit myaccount.google.com and log-in if you haven’t already.
- Choose “Data & Personalization” on the left-side panel.
- Select the arrow next to Web & App Activity.
- Choose “Manage Activity.”
- Select “Choose to delete automatically.”
- Select either 18 months or 3 months.
Choose how long you want Google to keep your information before it’s automatically deleted.
I recommend selecting 3 months, since providing as little information as possible is probably the best for privacy. But Google’s activity page says this: “The activity you keep can improve your experience anywhere you use your Google Account. What you search, read and watch can work together to help you get things done faster, discover new content and pick up where you left off.”
Google said during its event Tuesday that it will expand these controls to make them easier to find right inside of its apps. But for now, this is the quickest and easiest way to manage your privacy. Also, Google said it will roll out similar controls for how it tracks your location later this week, so look for that soon.