Fearing the hand of regulators, Google makes privacy changes

A privacy-positive move from Google today: you’ll now be able to set your location and search history to auto-delete after three or 18 months. ZDNet:

The new feature is set to roll out in the coming weeks, according to Google, and will allow users to set an expiration date for information like past Google searches, activity on Google-owned sites, installations and usage of Android apps and games, Chrome browsing history (if users chose to sync it), and location data Google normally collects through the Location History feature included with some of its services, such as Google Search and Maps.

It’s the kind of move that goes a little way to justify the at-times mocked political process here.

Much of the focus (and criticism) of politicians is that they don’t know what they’re talking about, and that they have no idea what regulation will feasibly look like. Both statements are correct, but maybe look at it this way: the mere fear of regulation is forcing tech companies to looking hard at what they do and making changes.

Would Google be making these kind of moves if its executives weren’t hauled to Washington for a public dressing down? Surely the answer is no.