Can I delete my search and location history on Google?

Privacy and security have become important features as we spend more time online and increasingly share our information with various websites. Social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have already introduced additional privacy features to their apps so that users can feel safe while using them. They also recently added so-called digital wellness tools to allow users to see how much time they spent on their sites.

Most recently, Google introduced a new feature that will allow you to automatically delete your location and web history and app activity data after a certain period.

The search giant already allows you to manually delete the data it stores about you when you use its products such as YouTube, Maps and Search. You can do this via the settings in your Google Account. But now you will be able to select automatic deletion after three or 18 months, and any data older than that would be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. This is in a bid to offer users more control over their personal data and let them decide what information they want to share and for how long.

The update is set to be rolled out in the next coming weeks.

To enable these setting on your apps and devises, simply follow these steps:

  1. On your smartphone or laptop browser sign into your Google Account
  2. On the top left navigation panel, click Data & Personalization
  3. Under “Activity controls”, click Web & App Activity
  4. Under “Web & App Activity”, clock Manage Activity
  5. At the top right, click the three dots down (More), and then click Keep activity for
  6. Click the button for how long you want to keep your activity then click Next and then Confirm to safe your choice

Google has taken these steps following a recent reveal that it was still tracking users’ location despite them having switched off their location preferences.

For more tips on how to manage your digital identity and the information you share online, read our top tips here.

What do you think of Google’s new security feature? Will you be using it for your device? Let us know in the comments below.