Google might collect far more personal data about its users than you might even realize. The company records every search you perform and every YouTube video you watch. Whether you have an iPhone ($599 at Apple) or an Android, Google Maps logs everywhere you go, the route you use to get there and how long you stay — even if you never open the app. When you look closer at everything Google knows about you, the results can be eye-opening, and maybe even a little unsettling. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it.
Starting in June, new Google accounts will automatically delete private data for you. But only after 18 months by default. And only if you’re a brand-new Google user. That’s great if you’re just now deciding to create a Gmail address or you just got your first Android phone, but if you’re among the 1.5 billion people on Gmail or the 2.5 billion people using Android already, your account is set to hold onto your private data forever unless you tell Google otherwise.
We’re going to cut through all the clutter and show you how to access the private data Google has on you, as well as how to delete some or all of it. Then we’re going to help you find the right balance between your privacy and the Google services you rely on by choosing settings that limit Google’s access to your information without impairing your experience.