Android Users Are Finally Getting the Ability to Clear Their Last 15 Minutes of Google Searches

It's for data privacy.
It's for data privacy. / VectorFun/iStock via Getty Images

Last summer, anyone who uses Google’s mobile app on an iOS device gained the ability to delete the last 15 minutes of their search history. At the time, according to The Verge, the tech giant planned to roll out the same feature in the Android version app within the same year.

It didn’t quite happen before 2022 kicked off. But now, as Mashable reports, Android users are getting the feature at last. To find out if it’s already available on your Android device, tap your profile icon in the Google app, look for “Search history,” and see if there’s an option to “Delete last 15 minutes” right below it. If there isn’t, it should be there soon.

“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,” Google spokesperson Ned Adriance told The Verge.

It’s a handy capability for anyone who needs to quickly clear searches for, say, surprise party ideas, because a certain someone just asked to borrow their phone. But Google’s developers didn’t create the tool just to make it easier for people to erase surprise-ruining (or embarrassing) queries. It’s more about data privacy. Google tracks your search history to deliver better, more customized recommendations and results. You can deactivate this by tapping your profile icon, selecting “Search history,” and turning off “Saving to Web & App Activity.” (You can also manually delete individual searches, your entire search history, or a custom date range. Or, you can instruct Google to auto-delete your search data after 3, 18, or 36 months.) 

But maybe you’re willing to continue giving Google access to that data in order to optimize your Google searches without too much effort on your part. With the "Delete last 15 minutes" feature, it’s easier to remove recent searches that you don’t want Google to factor into your app experience. Using a private browser tab is another way to keep particular searches off the record—just tap your profile icon and choose “Turn on Incognito.”

[h/t Mashable]