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Google Starts Rolling Out Options to Auto-Delete Web & App, Location Histories Every Few Months

Screenshot: Google

Google has begun rolling out features first announced in May that will allow users to set a time limit after which the giant will automatically delete location history rather than continue to hoard it forever, per TechCrunch. Another feature to do the same with web and app histories also appears to have launched.

To turn it on, visit your Google account’s Activity Controls page and click “Manage Activity” under the Web & App Activity and Location History sections. There, you’ll find a prompt labeled “choose to delete automatically,” where Google has listed two options for clearing the data: once every three months or once every 18 months.

Of course, this is opt-in rather than default, because Google is in the business of gathering this kind of information. But it’s at least better than when users only had the option of remembering to do it manually.

Note that this is also where users can manually delete their data, or—though this will lose them the dubious utility of features like seeing where they’ve been, venue recommendations, and/or “personalized experiences” in search—turn off Google’s collection of this kind of information entirely.

According to TechCrunch, Google said the location controls began rolling out to iOS and Android users on Wednesday. However, the Verge noted that both features will be rolling out over “the next few weeks globally,” so it might take some time to show up depending on where you’re located. (Contradicting some reports as to the timeline of these feature rollouts, two G/O Media contributors’ accounts had the Web & App History auto-deletion feature available as of very early morning on Thursday, but did not appear to have the Location History one.)

In any case, if you’re for some reason unwilling to turn off Google’s collection of this data entirely, setting it to delete after three months is probably not the worst idea.

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