There’s a popular keyboard shortcut <Control><Alt><Delete> that, generally speaking, interrupts or facilitates interrupting a function. For example, if a program on your computer hangs or crashes, you press this popular combination to force the program to close.
Today I’m coining a new term, <Control><Alt><Google>. In a nutshell, you can now tell Google to delete the data (or history) it has on / about you. In this post I want to cover three items: 1) What data is stored, 2) Why you should care about deleting it and 3) How to tell Google to delete your data.
What data does Google store (courtesy of my friends at Lifehacker)?
- Web and app history. This includes voice and audio data from Google assistant and other apps; data collected from apps synced to your Google account; all Chrome browsing history.
- YouTube search and watch histories
- Google Maps history and GPS location data
Why should I care about deleting this information?
A more tangible reason is that deleting your data is helpful for up-to-date content (and ad) curation. People change, our tastes evolve, and periodically deleting your outdated content history is like giving your YouTube, Google Play, or even Google Podcast recommendations a refresh based on your current interests.
Deleting it means Google doesn’t always have enough information about you to make recommendations on what it thinks you’ll like, or where you might want to go. CNBC
How do I request Google to delete my data?
- Go to your Google activity dashboard.
- Click “Activity controls” from the left-hand sidebar.
- Scroll down to the data type you wish to manage, then select “Manage Activity.”
- On this next page, click on “Choose how long to keep” under the calendar icon.
- Select the auto-deletion time you wish (three or 18 months), or you can choose to delete your data manually.
- Click “Next” to save your changes.
Repeat the steps above for each of the types of data you want to be auto-deleted, the three noted above (Web and app history, YouTube search and watch histories and Google Maps history and GPS location data). For your Location History in particular, you’ll need to click on “Today” in the upper-left corner first, and then click on the gear icon in the lower-right corner of your screen.
Then, select “Automatically delete Location History,” and pick a time.