Google says it will limit how long it keeps usage data to 18 months by default

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TORONTO — Google is adopting new privacy features and data retention practices across its core products, which include its search engine, Google Maps and YouTube.

It says data about user activity on Google platforms will now be deleted after 18 months by default, although users have the ability to have it deleted after three months.

Previously, Google retained data about use of its search engine and other services indefinitely unless the user chose to delete it.

Google generates the majority of its revenue by automatically matching advertising with people that use the company’s free online platforms.

However, privacy experts have raised concerns about how Google, Facebook and other companies collect and commercialize personal information.

Google says its new policy goes into effect immediately and, in coming weeks, it will also begin sending personalized recommendations to users about how to keep their data safe.