Winning Your Privacy Back From Google
In the ongoing battle of personalization vs. privacy, many people are looking to protect their privacy just a bit more, and understanding just what the giant Google knows about you is a great way to start. Fortunately, there’s a new tool that allows you to view, download, and even delete your search history from the beginning of time!
What Can I See?
The feature was initially released in January, and it allows you to see what you searched for, what links you clicked on, and even the addresses you’ve typed in. In fact, you can even download a list of images you may have clicked on. This isn’t akin to clearing your browser history. You probably knew it doesn’t all just disappear. Instead, this is a clean slate, and it’s fairly easy to get, too.
Make It Happen
To get started, you’ll need to download your history. You can do so from Google’s Web and App Activity page. From there, you should simply hit your gear icon, then choose download. You will see a warning that downloading that history to a public computer isn’t a good idea. This is sensitive information, after all. Hit “Creative Archive,” and your download will begin. After just a few seconds, you get a link that allows you to see your data.
Take a peek. Find out what they really know about you, then decide if you’d rather they not know quite that much. Keep in mind that deleting what Google knows about you DOES alter its ability to personalize searches. You’re no longer going to get those helpful little perks when searches are literally tailored to your habits. If you’re determined to wipe out any traces of your footsteps, though, you’ll click on that gear icon again, choose remove items, then choose “Remove Items from The Beginning of Time.” It’s as easy as clicking “Remove.”
You’re done. Your preferences no longer exist, and you are now a walking blank slate!
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