Google is changing its default settings to automatically delete some of the data it collects about users. Web and app activity, including a log of website searches and pages visited, as well as location data, will now be wiped after 18 months. YouTube histories – including which clips were watched and for how long – will be erased after 36 months.
The changes apply to new accounts only but existing users will soon be shown new prompts to adjust their settings. The announcement comes as Google and other big technology companies’ data-collection efforts and business practices face increased scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal has reported the US Department of Justice is to meet with state attorneys general later this week to discuss plans to punish Google for anti-competitive behaviour, including an allegation it has abused its dominance in online search.