Control, Alt, Google

Mountain View, CA/USA – May 21, 2018: Exterior view of a Googleplex building, the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc.

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 People change, our tastes evolve, and periodically deleting your outdated content history is like giving your YouTube, Google Play, or even Google Podcast recommendations a refresh based on your current interests.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?

  1. Go to your Google activity dashboard.
  2. Click “Activity controls” from the left-hand sidebar.
  3. Scroll down to the data type you wish to manage, then select “Manage Activity.”
  4. On this next page, click on “Choose how long to keep” under the calendar icon.
  5. Select the auto-deletion time you wish (three or 18 months), or you can choose to delete your data manually.
  6. 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.

Smart Jackets

Hey peeps, it’s been a while 🙂 Honestly, I really haven’t had anything important to say. So, instead of putting out a post just for the sake of it, I choose not to blog at all until, something interesting and/or exciting comes along.

I’ve already told you that I ❤️ collaborations and that I hope to see many more! Smart Jackets is a collaboration between Levi (yes, the jeans company) and Google and it’s exactly what it sounds like – a wireless enabled jean jacket – that will cost you $350. Mashable notes, “…for now the jacket is mainly used to control core features of your smartphone, like starting or stopping music, answering the phone or reading text messages, as well as Google services like Maps and Calendar.” iPhone users are out of luck – at least until Apple announces a similar partnership with another popular jeans brand and we all are again, forced to pick sides… sigh.

You all know I love technology; but, I do just have to say one thing here, especially in the age of leaks, breaches and hacks. The more connected we are, the more vulnerable we are and our (perceived) “safeness” lies solely in these company’s ability to protect their infrastructure (severs, databases, etc.) from outside intrusions. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy this jacket or that you should be paranoid about everything that’s connected or that we should all go back using to flip phones. What I am saying is everyone needs to be aware. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), this is the economy we live in and the way of the world/future (see also Drones).

You can watch Levi’s smart jacket in action below.

Map Game

europeHow well do you know the rest of the world? If I showed you a map of Europe, could you point in the general direction of where Greece is? What about Switzerland? I will admit that I would have trouble doing so. Lots of trouble! So I started searching online for a game to play. One that would allow me to learn more about the rest of the world and I found something! The site is called: Map Puzzles – US and World. The first time around, it took me 4 minutes, 13 seconds (Easy level) to place all the countries in Europe! I won’t mention the time it took me to place the US sates without the lines (that’s the Hard level)…

Anyhoo, it’s a fun thing to do! And a great way to learn more about the world. If you’re a teacher, a parent (or an adult) that wants to know more, this site makes it quite easy to give your little ones (or yourself) a 5-minute introduction to the rest of the world. The site has maps for Europe, Asia, South and Central America, Africa and more! If you really want to get fancy, you can also find out how many people live in those areas with the interactive map below from PRB (Population Reference Bureau). Happy Mapping!

PRB World Population