The Complete Guide to Deleting Your Google History
Let’s face it – Google knows more about you than your closest friends do. Just look at your search history! Nope, not the one you are used to cleaning from time to time – there’s another one you may not even know about.
One must note here that deleting your browser history and deleting Google history are two entirely different things. While deleting the browser history clears your internet activities from your browser, it doesn’t so much as touch your search history that is on Google’s servers. That information is huge compared to the one you see when you click “History” in the menu bar at the top of your browser window. This is because Google’s Web & App History maintains logs of all your searched URLs or keywords since you first used it.
So what exactly Google knows about you?
If you could hack one of those servers, you would see incredible amounts of information the company has been collecting about it’s users since 2000. Google actually doesn’t keep this data collection a secret, but they don’t walk around announcing it loudly either. This is why it’s important to be aware of what data it collects and take control into your own hands.
GOOGLE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE:
- your gender
- name and surname
- email address and password
- your birthday
- phone number and country
IT SEES WHAT YOU DO ONLINE:
- each page that you visit
- all the ads you click on
- what you search (including voice searches)
- your IP address and cookie info
- your physical location
- videos you watch
- photos and video content you upload
- emails you send and receive (if you use Gmail)
- events you attend
- files you create and save on your Google Drive
AND THERE’S SO MUCH MORE
Including your plans, future trips, purchases, interests and likes because all this information is carefully combined to build a complete profile about you.
While the company claims that all this information is needed to offer you a better service (and it is difficult to disagree with that), it still feels that we are giving away too much of our personal details. No wonder you are thinking about getting rid of your whole online history!
One important note before you start
Remember that once you choose to delete your activity records, there is no way back and you won’t be able to restore them. So before you start, it may be a good idea to export and download a copy of your data just in case you ever need it.
To make a backup of your information, visit Google’s takeout page and complete these steps:
1.Read through the list and mark which products (calendars, maps, tasks, bookmarks, etc.) you want to download.
2.Choose the type of the archive, your preferred delivery method (email, Google Drive, Dropbox or oneDrive) and click “Create archive”.
3.You will receive a link that you can use to access and download your archive.
Voila! Now that you have downloaded all the information you need, let’s proceed with removing it from Google’s memory.
Now delete your Google search history permanently
If you are still in the cleaning mood, go straight to your Google account settings and click on “My activity”. There you will see the detailed list of all the actions you have ever performed while using Google products or services – take a few minutes to scroll down and explore just to make sure how much it knows about you.
Now all you have to do is to follow these 3 simple steps to delete everything that Google knows about you once and for all:
1.Click the menu button in the top left corner of your screen.
2.Select “Delete activity by”.
3.Go to “Delete by date” section to select a change from “Today” to “All time”. Then choose “All products” and click “DELETE”.
Once you confirm your decision, all your past searches, saved sites and page visits will disappear from Google’s servers. If you enjoy the feeling and wish to remain anonymous, you may want to manage some privacy settings at the “Activity controls” page.
Although there’s no option to completely stop Google from saving your history, you can pause these actions temporarily. Simply select the service you want to pause and slide the blue switch to the left side. The same can be done with all the Google apps and services that collect your data and online actions.
What else can you do to enhance your privacy?
However, if you want to become absolutely invisible to Google, sadly that it is not possible. Since it maintains logs of your searches, you cannot stop it from knowing about you at least a little bit.
For those who are concerned with their privacy, we recommend switching to more secure search engines, such as DuckDuckGo or Startpage. They are not interested in your activities and do not log any of your info. Also, consider using a reliable VPN service which hides your IP address and encrypts your online communications.
Happy secure browsing!