Google is the Internet’s biggest all-around platform and service provider. It is a truly giant powerhouse, offering an electronic mail suite, the world’s broadest search engine, a video hub (YouTube,) and other tools such as Google Maps, Google Drive, Hangouts, AdWords, and many more.
However, the company is well-known for trying (and succeeding, for the most part) to collect activity logs from users in all locations. They do it to offer a more personalized user experience, i.e., showing ads according to the person’s most visited websites and online preferences.
There may not be a way (besides using an encryption resource, such as a VPN) to keep Google from spying on every move you make. However, you can find it very convenient to delete your Google browsing history from time to time. There are things that are best kept away from your acquaintances at work, or from your family.
Just remember: not because you deleted your Google search history, it doesn’t mean that it will disappear by work of magic. Google can “store separately to prevent spam and abuse and to improve our services,” even if searches “are no longer associated with your Google Account.”
Here’s how to delete your Google history:
- Log in to your Google account with your usual username and password.
- Access your Web & App Activity.
- Select the cog icon located at the top of the layout, on the right, selecting the Remove Items button.
- Configure the timeframe for which you wish to erase your history. If you want to delete your whole browsing history, choose “The Beginning of Time.”
- You can select the boxes for the info you want Google to delete, including other types of browsing data you can erase.
- Select “Remove.”
Users can also erase individual searches, those that are more recent, and those that have been performed from mobile devices.
If you want to store your entire browsing and search history, here is how you can do it:
- Log in to your Google account, typing your username and password.
- Access your Web & App Activity.
- Select the cog icon located at the top of the layout, on the right, selecting the Download button.
- Select Create Archive
- Google will notify you via email the exact moment in which your personal archive will be ready for download. To have access to the file, go to your Google Drive account, in the “Takeout Folder.”
How to disable your Google activity
If you want Google to stop saving your activity from that point on, here is what you need to do:
- Access the Activity controls in your device.
- Deactivate the activity you don’t desire to store or save.
- Select “Pause” to confirm your newly configured settings.
Take control of your online privacy
People are starting to realize just how important privacy is when they enter the World Wide Web. It is crucial to minimize the exposure of your personal information to online advertisers and tracking companies that collect and store your data.
Browsing in the “Incognito” mode is helpful, but it doesn’t do much when it comes to online anonymity. That is why deleting your Google web browser and search history is one of the best things you can do to protect what you value.
Remember that, if you want to make sure Google knows practically nothing about you, you need to individually delete data from any Google product you have an account on: erase your maps activity, location history, and others.
Alternatives to Google
If you want to enjoy anonymous browsing and find Google’s policies annoying and disrespectful to your privacy, you should try other web browsers that are destined to protect your data from being spied on.
You can try DuckDuckGo, which is essentially a Google-like platform without the privacy breaches. Another way to browse the web anonymously is by entering the Tor network, a system which used nodes to encrypt and protect the information (including your visited site) you share online.
It doesn’t matter if you choose a anonymity oriented browser or if you desire to stick with Google: if you are conscious about online and data privacy, you will find the way to protect your valuable information from any third party or external agent on the web.