With Facebook in the news for its privacy and data collection practices, it’s no surprise that people are questioning the motives behind other online giants like Amazon and Google. What you think is your private business really is not.
Google, the world’s most popular search engine, has gotten to the point where it can almost read your mind. Start typing in the first few letters for your search and it will fill in the rest with a list of options.
That’s because we humans tend to be creatures of habit, and if you have a habit of searching for certain things, Google knows. If there are places you frequent, there’s a chance that Google knows that too.
Does that make you feel secure? If not, then you can take some action to cut the cord between you and what it has on you. A basic browser and cache cleaning isn’t enough. Break out a pad and pen or split your screen so you can follow these tips to make your online activities less exposed to Google.
Turn Off Activity
Log into your Google account (if you’re not already), and go to “Settings”, and then “Activity Controls”. Clicking here will bring you there too. Disable tracking for web searches, locations, or whatever else you choose on this page. This is also the section where you can tailor the types of ads you prefer to see— or if you’d rather not see them at all.
Typed searches, voice searches, your weekly stops at the smoke shop, and your nightly YouTube viewings of you-know-what can be cut off here if you so choose, but be mindful that some features may be lost, especially on your phone. That includes maps and locations!
Clear Your Infinite Browsing History
Access your “History” settings and take advantage of the “Time Range” feature. While you may be astounded by the mind-reading and memory capabilities of Google when you need to visit a website, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with choosing “All Time” from the drop-down menu. This will clean out the sites you visited and the date and time. Clean slate!
Scribble notes as you watch the rest of this video to learn more about how to delete your Google info when it comes to searches. If you are automatically logged into Google on your phone or other device, do this for each account. You can also wipe out information if you are not using a registered account.
You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your info, whether it’s from thieves, advertisers, or generally nosy people. Just in case you’re wondering if there are alternatives to Google, many internet users have turned to DuckDuckGo or StartPage for their search engine needs.
Worried about the Google Home devices listening to your conversations? According to Google, you shouldn’t be, but since it’s connected to your account too, you can follow the steps above to delete certain bits of information.
Are you comfortable with Google tracking your information? Were you aware of these protective measures? Which of these will you jump on first?