Google to make deleting search history easier for users

Data and privacy controls are now baked into the company's search engine

Google has announced it will put its privacy controls within search, making it easier for users to delete their internet histories.

Dubbed Your Data, the new policy change is aimed at making how Google collects data more transparent, including information on what kind of data it is gathering and what controls Google provides to manage it. It's the latest move forming part of a wider commitment by the company to be open about its data collection policies, with hints at further initiatives to come in the future.

"We're making it easier for you to make decisions about your data directly within the Google products you use every day, starting with Search," said Eric Miraglia, Google's director of product management in the Privacy and Data Protection Office.

"Without ever leaving Search, you can now review and delete your recent Search activity, get quick access to the most relevant privacy controls in your Google Account, and learn more about how Search works with your data."

Miraglia said that up until now, the best way for users to review or manage data, would have been to visit their Google Account.

"Now, we're bringing these controls to you from directly within Search, you can review or delete your Search activity and quickly get back to finding what you were searching for," he said.

He added that Google was also "providing quick access to the privacy controls in your Google Account that are most relevant as you use Search."

The new privacy controls have been launched in Google Search on desktop and mobile web today, and in the Google app for iOS and Android in the coming weeks. Google hopes to expand this to Maps next year.

Google's decision comes at a time when tech companies are coming under increased pressure to openly discuss their data collection and security policies. Apple made a similar move this week when it launched a new privacy-focused website that enables users to search and see what kind of data the company has kept on them. Among the data collected includes calendar entries, photos, reminders, documents, bookmarks, App Store purchases and support and repair history.

Facebook's failure to control data sharing on its platform led to the improper harvesting of 87 million user profiles by analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Following an investigation, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office issued a fine of 500,000 against Facebook, the highest possible fine under the 1998 Data Protection Act.

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