Control Google Tracking With This New Privacy Tool


Google's new Activity Tool lets you view, edit and delete all the information Google has collected about you.

If you have a Google account (if you use Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, etc. then you have an account) you can now manage all the information Google has collected about you - websites you've visited, things you've searched for, YouTube videos you've watched, and so on. The My Activity tool shows you exactly what Google knows about you while giving you tools to review, edit and delete any data that Google has collected about you when you use Google services such as Google Search, YouTube, Android, etc.
In addition to managing data, the My Activity privacy tool lets you easily stop and re-start tracking for any of the services listed - if you want to see the YouTube videos you've watched but don't want your Chrome search history saved, now you can do it all from one place.

Editing and deleting the collected data is fairly straightforward - using the three dot menu allows you to edit or delete entries individually or all at once. To edit individual items, use the three dot menu next to the listing. For bulk editing, use the three dot menu in the upper right corner. The search box let's you look for specific items or filter searches by date or Google product.
You can now also opt out in or out of any product Google uses to track your activities in one place: Google Activity Controls.
While you're logged in to your account settings, take a few minutes and go through the Privacy Checkup (the link is at the bottom of the My Activity page) - you never know, you might find something you need to change.

Three things worth noting:
- My Activity settings shows data for the device you're currently using.
- If you use Google products across multiple devices and turn off tracking for a service, the data won't be available across all your devices. For example, if you use Google Chrome and sync your bookmarks across devices or platforms, stopping it will prevent your bookmarks from being synchronized.
- There are new ad preferences in the My Activity tool. Historically, Google has used the data it collects about you to display ads across Google products by using cookies. Google is expanding that approach, using behavioral information to display ads beyond Google products to the wider internet - similar to how Facebook and other third party sites track user's usage across the internet. What's different about Google is that you can opt-in or opt-out of personalized ads. It's a choice between seeing ads based on your interests (as determined by the data Google collects about your activities) or ads not based on the data Google collects. Of course, using Ad and Privacy blocking add-ons will bypass most, if not all, tracking. All in all a fairly useful tool - if you want to see what Google knows about you, head over and have a look.

Google My Activity Privacy Tool


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There is no download. Just go to ... log in .... click through the 3 or 4 images (G. marketing messages, how good they are to us. :BS:. They have everything I have looked at (YT, g.searches ... etc) back to 2013, 3 years ago.

There is NO delete all, you have to delete each item one at a time, as slow as dial up, and the usual nags "do you want to delete ?"... are you sure? ... delete again !! Take about 6 months of your life to just delete Googles records. An absolute sham :ANNOYED:

Three years ago I watched a video on how to fix plumbing ... 3 years later G still offers plumbing YTs
Now I am really PO.

The only search engine I use is DuckDuckGo ... they are OK but the minute I watch YT ... a gotcha moment for G.

I completely agree that the "ask me three times" before you get to delete something is, um, shall we say, a little overdone. :)

You can bulk delete I mentioned in the article, go the the 3 dot menu in the upper right corner (not the one next to individual items) and click on that. You'll get a drop down menu that has options to delete items by date range, by topic, and by product. I used it to clean out my history.

You can also turn off (Google calls it pause) tracking for all the services like YouTube that are listed. I've tested it, and if you turn it off, items don't appear like if you watch a video.

I have a slow satellite internet connection, not as fast as the dial up broadband provided by the phone company of friends in the town closest to me. It's quite frustrating, especially since web pages require more and more bandwidth to load things. YouTube videos stop and stutter, so I rarely try and watch one.
I use an add-on on all my browsers called Disconnect, it does help with the amount of bandwidth sites use. I make sure to Whitelist sites I support. uBlock Origin is another good one.

Hope that helps.

By the way, there are absolutely no instructions.

Just various "three-vertical-dots" that eventually (dialup speed) open a drop-down, second option is delete (more waiting), then G. assumes we don't know what we are doing ... a v.quick message, including "Delete" ... (more waiting) ... message to opt-out of deleting (more waiting) ... and its gone. The single item you looked at during the Jurassic period.

If you have a hair trigger G. will ignore you and dump you back at the item you wanted to delete. Amazing how they can deliver junk ads in a nano second ... but try and clean up your "MyActivity" account. ?

Are you guy in cahoots with Google? You are praising this software that states one can delete ones personal data, but it is so deeply hidden I cannot find it. If you are interest in doing a service to you readers, then provide inks to where one can delete th stuff we don't want. If you don't want to be of service then continue to support Google and I for one am going elsewhere.

After re-reading your post, perhaps I should clarify - there is no software involved with the Google Activity Tool. There's nothing to download, nothing to run or install. It's an online tool, created by Google, to be used by people with a Google account. It's part of Google's account settings.
You need a Google account and have to log in to a Google account to use the tool.
If you don't have a Google account, as far as I know, there's no way for Google to track and collect data about you all in one place - that is, Google may track you using cookies, but they don't know who you are and can't collect information on, for example, every YouTube video you may have watched, everything you've searched for using Google Chrome, etc.
You have to be logged into a Google account and using Google products for them to collect information about where you go and what you when you use Google services. I hope that clears things up.

I'm re-reading the article and I see and have tested the two links that go directly to where they say they go - perhaps you didn't read through the article?
The link, towards the end, goes directly to the Google My Activity Tool.
I'm re-posting it here for your convenience:
From that link you'll be directed to sign in to a Google account, if you have one.
You can delete whatever you want from there. If you don't have an account with Google, then the link or the information doesn't apply.

Do we really want a third party to be able to see what Google has on us. At least Google is letting us know what they know about us. About the ads, I use Opera and they have a neat speedtest to see the difference of sites loading with and without ads. To night Gizmo's is running 9.62 with ads, and 2.5 without. Gizmo's ads are on.

Hmmm.... a tool by Google to track Google to control Google tracking and privacy issues ?

it sounds a bit like the police investigating police !.... no thanks !

That aspect wasn't lost on me either.  :)


thanks rhiannon.... I meant no disrespect to you for this freebie.
Some folk may find it useful but I'm a bit too old and cynical to trust Google !

Oh I didn't take your comment as disrespectful in any way, I was agreeing with you......Google is in the data collection business. They offer free products, most of them good products I would think (I don't use many of them but they are popular at any rate) and in exchange for using them, you allow them access to your online activities. Many people don't mind and think it's a good trade off. I'm older and cynincal too. :)

Not a good comparison and you would certainly never find the police giving you control of how much of your criminal record is in the public domain.

The main problem with ads based on your web browsing is that you tend to get suggestions on things you have already purchased and no longer need to buy. Getting rid of personalized searches are a good thing. Some people don't like ads but they are a necessary evil. Someone has to pay for servers, etc. Complaining about ads is like someone getting a ride to work from you every day and then complain when you ask him to contribute to the cost.

I wasn't complaining - I was stating a personal preference. I don't care for advertising that either uses my limited bandwidth (flash, video and animated ads that play automatically), ads that take up an overly large amount of screen space, and ads that make it difficult to read site content because ads appear repeatedly in an article.
In addition to having personal preferences (don't we all?), I put my money where my mouth is. Every month I donate something to a site whose work I want to support, whether it's a freeware author, a Firefox add-on developer (yep, I'm a Firefox fan girl), or a site whose content I find useful (while still viewing their ads if they have them). I hope you do the same, even if it's a few dollars a month.

As an editor for Gizmo's Freeware, I am acutely aware that this site stands or falls on advertising. It's the only source of income the site has to pay it's operating costs - everyone here is a volunteer, donating our time and talent to bring you the content on this site as well as keeping it up and running - no small feat. If enough people block ads here on Gizmo's Freeware, this site will cease to exist.

Aside from my personal preferences, online advertising has been and will continue to be a significant security and privacy risk; advertising can be a source for delivering malware - here's two fairly recent examples:

How Forbes inadvertently proved the anti-malware value of ad blockers

Hackers Exploit ‘Flash’ Vulnerability in Yahoo Ads

Flash is dying but it's not dead yet, and it continues to be a source of critical vulnerabilities, with several sites recommending uninstalling it completely when certain vulnerabilities have come to light.
'Nuff said.

Rhiannon, thanks for clarifying. I didn't really mean to come across as brash as I did. I do agree with you on the use of video in ads. I think it is a waste of bandwidth especially on a phone with very limited data. I also support "free" sites as well.

I didn't take offense. You have good points. I was clarifying my thinking and adding some hopefully useful information. :)

I have a particular dislike of ads that automatically start videos or use much of bandwidth because we have had a slow satellite internet connection with a small bandwidth cap (I now also use a mobile Hotpost for internet access on my desktop and laptop which I am very happy with).
Some time ago, the satellite internet company started adding the bandwidth they use to maintain and upgrade their modems to their customer's data allowance. This increased our "usage" which historically hasn't been high......when you get close to the bandwidth cap, they throttle the connection speed. On an already slow connection, this makes downloading email a long process, and for the most part, I get text only email. A few photos here and there, and my email program blocks graphics unless I allow them. When the connection is throttled, sites often won't load, they time out. I usually visit the Weather Underground site several times a day - it's not a graphics heavy site, but it doesn't load when the connection speed is throttled. This particular satelllite internet usage is throttled under something called "rolling 30 day bandwidth usage" that's never been explained in a way I can my experience, speeds are throttled for long periods of time if you continue to use the internet.

So, ads that automatically play videos, use animation or are heavy on graphics have an's taking away a resource that people pay for without regard for the consequences or the impact on people's lives. And then there's the use of ads to deliver malware.....and so it goes. :)

Where does Google store the the information after you've deleted it from your account?

I enjoy the Google Doodles too.

I block ads on sites that display these types of ads: ads that are animated GIF's, video ads, and large or intrusive ads (large being relative to the page content).

The worst offenders are sites that show ads in their articles - a paragraph or two, interrupted by an ad (usually large and intrusive), then another paragraph or two of content, then another ad, then more ads at the end of the page. When I see that, I leave the site, and don't return, no matter how compelling the content may be.

I think your first statement is in error as Google doesn't technically delete any information collected as that would defeat the whole point of collecting it in the first place. As you mentioned this is a privacy tool which basically means your getting control over how much of the information you wish to hide. Personally I've never had any issues with Google and their ads are so unobtrusive that I really don't notice them while doing searches. I always look forward to the Google doodles too.