Google wants you to know that Android is so secure, it has a Men In Black-style memory eraser for your search queries.
The company has started rolling out the ability to delete the last 15 minutes of search history with a simple tap. It’s a feature originally introduced to iOS users last summer to help bring Google back into the good graces of the iPhone-using crowd, and now it’s showing up on Android devices.
Google confirmed the rollout to The Verge over the weekend. “We’re currently rolling this feature out on the Google app for Android and expect it to be available to everyone using the app in the next few weeks,” said a company spokesperson.
The feature was initially spotted by former editor-in-chief of XDA Developers, Mishaal Rahman, who was tipped off to the feature via a Twitter follower.
Some folks have already received the update on their respective Android devices, including 9to5Google, where you can see screenshots of what the feature looks like. The option to scrub 15-minutes of search terms will appear below the Search History option in the settings panel of the Google app.
Unfortunately, the ability hasn’t rolled out to my primary Android device, the OnePlus 9, nor is it on my Google Pixel 6 Pro.
What’s so helpful about this feature, anyway? If you’re like me and spend your Sunday mornings looking up whether narwhals can jump for your kid, it will help so that your algorithm isn’t affected by every search query.
In my case, I actively use Google’s Discover feed to stay tuned in to what’s trending while I’m out and about. The feature lives to the left-most screen on Android, and anyone who has used it for more than a few minutes at a time can attest that it’s pretty sensitive to the rest of your Google account activity. I would rather not see news stories related to the biology lessons I attempt to impart upon my child.
This ability to scrub 15-minutes of search queries is also part of Google’s journey toward making Android a more palatable mobile operating system for the masses. While researching this story, I realised that I never selected the option to delete my past Google search history. You might consider heading into your account settings in the Google search app to ensure you’re on board with how much information the company stores on you. In my case, I asked Google to delete any search terms that are older than 36-months, though you can choose between three and 18-months.