Google will now let you clear your last 15 minutes of saved search history. Project Manager of Google Search, JK Kearns, made the announcement in a blog post on Thursday. The privacy-focused feature is starting out on iOS, but will also roll out on Android later this year.
You may have noticed that your options for clearing your mobile Google search history before today were: “delete today”, “delete custom range”, “delete all time” and “auto-delete”. Now, the new feature adds a fifth option.
“It’s [now easier] for you to control how you want your search history to be saved to your Google Account. This new tool [will help you] search safely,” Kearns wrote.
The feature also highlights CEO, Sundar Pichai’s 2019 promise that “[his company’s] work on privacy and security is never done. [They] want to do more to stay ahead of constantly evolving user expectations. [And they’re] working on a significant set of enhancements.”
Google and Privacy
However, Google is often called out when online privacy concerns are raised. Time and again, the search giant has been tagged with privacy violations. For example, they were accused of tracking people’s internet activity (including their search history) without their consent. Last year, the company faced a $5 billion lawsuit in the US for a privacy violation and a further $120 million in France for a similar reason.
But it looks like Google is striving to tackle privacy concerns. In January, the company proposed a new set of data protection measures. And one of them was to disable third-party cookies in the Chrome browser.
Is This Feature Really a Big Deal?
The 15-minute-search-history-delete feature does feel like a step in the right direction. But users might need more than just that to be convinced that Google does care about their privacy. And data protection agencies in the US and Europe will definitely require more aggressive security measures.