Do you use Gmail, the Chrome browser, or other Google service? Then Google may be keeping a record of every search query you make. That’s right; if you have a Google account, Google may know everything you ever looked for on the web. That is, unless you turn off Google’s collecting of all your searches and clean out the web history they’ve kept. Here’s how.
Turn off Google Web History
- Go to the web page https://history.google.com
- Sign in to your Google account if you aren’t already signed in.
- Click the gear icon in the upper right corner (example shown in figure on the right).
- Choose “Settings”’
- The page that opens contains the section shown in the figure below.
- Click the button “Turn off” to stop Google collecting the data. If you change your mind, you can always turn Web History back on.
Delete items in Google Web History
- Previously collected data will still be there. To remove it, click the link contained in the word “delete” in the sentence, “You can also delete all past Google search activity or remove particular items from your recent activity.” The link is hard to see and I have highlighted it in yellow in the figure.
- You will get a dialog box asking if you want to delete all items
- Click the button “Delete All”
- You can also delete only selected items by using the link contained in the phrase “recent activity” as indicated in the figure
What does Google do with this data? Why, they sell the information to advertisers, of course. Or maybe, they also give it to the government. Who knows?
Added later: If you have privacy concerns about Google search, consider the search engine StartPage, described in this tip.
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.
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