Google rolling out auto-delete for your location and activity history

You may be pleased, or perhaps underwhelmed, by the news that you no longer have to remember to log in and delete the stuff you didn’t know Google was tracking about you.

Google announced new auto-delete controls for Location History and activity data on Wednesday.

…not that Location History and Web & App Activity aren’t the best things since sliced bread – or places where sliced bread is served, Google said:

Whether you’re looking for the latest news or the quickest driving route, we aim to make our products helpful for everyone.

The data can make Google products more useful for you – like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search.

However, it’s been getting feedback about users wanting simpler ways to manage or delete all that data.

You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity or to delete all or part of that data manually.

Soon, you’ll also be able to set auto-delete controls that you can use to set a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved, be it for 3 or 18 months. Data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. Expect to see the new controls roll out first with Location History in coming weeks and then on Web & App Activity. From Google:

You should always be able to manage your data in a way that works best for you and we’re committed to giving you the best controls to make that happen.

Well, that sure SOUNDS nice. Mind you, as we’ve learned over the past few months, Google’s mobile apps can gather our location data even when they’re not running if you’ve opted into Location History…

… location data that law enforcement officials in the US have been routinely mining for criminal investigations, as revealed in an investigation by the New York Times.

So yes, you can soon set up auto-delete for Location History, and then for Web & App activity. But if you don’t like the notion of the police, and the advertising behemoth that is Google, being able to track your every movement, you can also turn off location history entirely.

To do so, sign into your Google account, click on your profile picture and the Google account button. From there, go to Data & personalization, and select Pause next to Location History. To turn off location tracking altogether, you have to do the same for Web & App activity in the same section.