Tech

Google tracks your every move, but a new tool is rolling out that lets you force it to delete where you've been

Key Points
  • Google is rolling out a new tool that lets you automatically delete location history.
  • That means you can force Google to delete everything it has stored on your location every three months or every 18 months.
  • Google rolled out a similar tool for web and app history in May.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 11, 2018.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Speaking during Google IO in May, Google CEO Sundar Pichai promised that his company would soon begin rolling out new tools that give users more control over their privacy and the data Google collects. The first tool, which let you set up a way to automatically delete your web and app activity history, rolled out on May 8.

Now another one is beginning to roll out, and you should keep an eye out for it to hit your account.

Google said Wednesday it is activating a feature that will automatically delete your location history after a specific amount of time, either every three months or every 18 months. That means even if you don't go in and manually delete your location history from Google — or pause it altogether — you can make sure Google routinely deletes where you've been.

Google knows an awful lot about you, particularly your location if you use Google Maps or other Google services that require your GPS coordinates. And all of your locations, often updated several times a day, are stored online, complete with a map pinpointing everywhere you've been. It's a creepy level of detail.

Google said on Wednesday the feature is rolling out now, so it might not show up right away. However, you can check if it's live for you by doing this:

  • Visit myaccount.google.com.
  • Tap "Data and Personalization" on the left panel.
  • Choose "Location History."
  • See if there's an option to delete it automatically every 3 months or every 18 months.
  • Activate it if you do see it, or check back in a few days or weeks to see if it's been rolled out to your account.
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