Google said Wednesday it’s making a handful of privacy changes for users.
In a blog post, the search giant said it’ll make it easier for users to go “incognito” and pause data collection as they use Google’s mobile apps. It’s also adding proactive account security recommendations to its Security Checkup tool.
Google also said it’ll allow its users to auto-delete their data after 18 months.
Starting today, the first time you turn on Location History — which is off by default — your auto-delete option will be set to 18 months by default. Web & App Activity auto-delete will also default to 18 months for new accounts. This means your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, rather than kept until you choose to delete it. You can always turn these settings off or change your auto-delete option.
The privacy changes come months after European regulators opened an investigation into Google’s processing of location data on the continent.
Meanwhile, stateside, Google is one of many Silicon Valley tech giants also facing renewed questions about how they reconcile protecting users’ privacy while still providing their technology to law enforcement, amid protests against police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
Over a thousand of Google’s own employees have asked the company to stop selling its technology to police departments across the United States. Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have already pulled the plug on selling their facial recognition technology to police, but left a wide berth to still sell to federal law enforcement.
Google is also facing a $5 billion class action suit in California for allegedly pervasively tracking the internet use of its users through their browser’s “incognito” mode.