With US regulators demanding answers by 7 May over the repeated scandals, this appears to be Google's method of dealing with the issue.
In the past, even turning off location on smartphones has not stopped Google from collecting data, as an AP investigation in August last year found. The news agency said it had examined Google services on both Android devices and iPhones and found that turning off Location History had no impact at all.
The company's support page says: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”
In April, The New York Times reported that law enforcement authorities were using a Google database called Sensorvault to track people they considered to be offenders.
In announcing the auto-delete feature, David Monsees, product manager, Search, and Marlo McGriff, product manager, Maps, said: "You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity, and if you choose to delete all or part of that data manually. In addition to these options, we’re announcing auto-delete controls that make it even easier to manage your data.
"Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved — 3 or 18 months — and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks."
The feature will be available on both Android phones and iPhones, given that Google is the default search engine on Apple's Safari browser; Google pays Apple about US$9 billion a year to be the default search engine.
Whether the feature will work as claimed remains to be seen.