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Google to auto-delete user data

(Image credit: Shutterstock / achinthamb)

Google will start automatically deleting some of the data it holds on its users, the BBC reported

Auto-delete controls will be activated automatically for newly created accounts, while existing users will be prompted to update their account settings.

According to the report, data relating to users' search queries, visited pages and location will automatically be deleted after 18 months, with YouTube usage data (including viewing history and time spent on videos) deleted after 36 months.

Google uses this type of data to offer its advertising clients the ability to personalise ads and target users with precision.

The auto-delete feature made its debut last year, but required the user to activate the function manually.

"We know that information makes our products helpful," Google Product Manager David Monsees told the BBC. "But data minimisation is one of our important privacy principles [and] Google will no longer keep activity indefinitely unless you ask us to."

The company has decided to hold on to YouTube data a little longer, because it allows it to better cater to user preference. Photos, Gmail and Drive were excluded from the changes because, according to Google, data gathered by these applications is not used for advertising purposes.