Privacy concerns are on the rise as we complete more tasks on our devices. How many of you use your phone for social media or banking? The cost of converting our lives digitally is our privacy. Responding to some of these concerns, Google introduced some ways to delete your search and location data after some time automatically.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that online retailers, social media outlets, and search engines have detailed records of our lives. The amount of data they retain are used to create detail profiles about us. This, in turn, helps online outlets provide personalize recommendations for online content. The profiles also help advertisers target us.

Back in May, Google introduced tools that enable us to erase data related to our searches, requests to its virtual assistant, and where we have been. It has now introduced this ability for our YouTube searches. It is also planning on rolling out a private mode for Google Maps that will not show your location.

Configuring Google’s Auto-Delete Feature

Google enables configuration of its privacy settings on its web tool: My Activity. Once you navigate to the site and sign in if you’re not already, look to the left menu for Activity Controls.

Search History

The first section will be titled Web & App Activity. Click on Manage Activity to open up the settings. This page will have two sections: choosing the settings for your web activity and choosing how your data is deleted. Selecting Choose to delete automatically will bring up a new window. This will present three options for deleting the data shown below.

Deciding on how long to keep information is dependent on how much you want personalized recommendations. If your interests change every few months, keeping it for three months should be more than enough time.

YouTube History

Configuring your YouTube History is the same process as your search history. Once in Activity Controls, scroll to the YouTube History. Select Choose to delete automatically, and the popup will appear with the various options. Like with Search History, the options will be manual, 18 months, or three months.

Location History

The process is slightly different for your location history. Once you click on the Manage Activity under the Location section, you will arrive at another tab. This will be a map with places that you have visited in the past. Find the settings gear on the bottom right. After clicking it, select Automatically delete Location History to bring up the options.

Once released, you will be able to turn on Incognito Mode on Google Maps. First, open up the Google Maps app. Secondly, tap on your picture on the top right-hand corner. The next popup should give you a few options, one being Turn on Incognito mode.

Why Delete Your Data?

Google is ahead of many Internet giants when it comes to managing your data. With that said, every user will want their data managed differently. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how you should manage your data. We may utilize different features, and thus require different data to be retained. As we all have different lifestyles, we also have various privacy concerns. All of these should be factored in when deciding how you want your data to be handled.

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