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Searched for porn or stalked ex? Google now allows you to erase search history in 15 mins

The tech giant announced the 'quick delete' search history feature at its annual Google I/O conference for developers.

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New Delhi: Google has come up with a fast way for its users to erase any search history of last 15 minutes with a simple tap, in what is being seen as a push for more user privacy.

Google becomes the second tech company to let users have more control of their data. In January 2020, Facebook had announced that its users around the world will now have a one-click button called ‘Clear History’.

The push to add more privacy features comes as tech companies like Google and Facebook are facing increasing scrutiny and pressure from users and regulators to do more to protect user privacy.

Google announced the ‘quick-delete’ search history feature at its annual Google I/O conference for developers.

“We never sell your personal information to anyone,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice-president, said at the virtual event, according to a Bloomberg report. “It’s simply off limits.”

How to ‘quick delete’ your recent Google Search history?

A “quick delete” of your recent Google Search history can be accomplished in two simple ways. All you need is a Google account.

Step 1: Tap on the Google account profile picture. A drop-down menu will appear.

Step 2: Click ‘Delete last 15 minutes’ and your most recent history data will be erased.

The Bloomberg report also listed other privacy features launched at the Google event, and these include more tools to protect passwords and data usage permissions for Android devices.

“No one else offers this kind of technically enforced, verifiable privacy,” Fitzpatrick said.

Another tech giant Apple has spent “years” positioning its iPhones as a far more secure device than those running Google’s Android operating system, the report said.


Also read: How AR, VR and AI technology is making education more accessible post-Covid


Past steps by tech giants for user privacy 

In May 2019, Google had added more ways for users to control their privacy and data collected by Google Search functions. However, many users may not be aware of the controls and a faster way to delete history will be more effective for user privacy.

While introducing the privacy features in 2019, a Google blog said: “You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity, and if you choose—to delete all or part of that data manually. In addition to these options, we’re announcing auto-delete controls that make it even easier to manage your data.”

With the auto-delete control, a user can choose a time-limit for how long the user wants their activity data to be saved by Google. “Any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis,” the blog had said.

The auto-delete control was available to clear user data related to Location History and Web, and App Activity.

In January 2020, Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg announced similar ways to delete user history in a blog titled, ‘Starting the Decade by Giving You More Control Over Your Privacy’.

Zuckerberg said in the blog a tool named ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ will become available to all of its users around the world. Previously, the tool had been available in select countries like Ireland, South Korea and Spain.

“Other businesses send us information about your activity on their sites and we use that information to show you ads that are relevant to you”, Zuckerberg had said.

But now with the Off-Facebook Activity tool, he added, “you can see a summary of that information and clear it from your account if you want to”.

When the tool was first introduced in 2019, Facebook had explained: “If you clear your off-Facebook activity, we’ll remove your identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send us. We won’t know which websites you visited or what you did there, and we won’t use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.”


Also read: Too many apps, no real innovation. Cute Tech is ailing Indian technology


 

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