Friday, February 17, 2012

How Much Does Google Know About You? Find Out and Delete! (Updated)

When you're signed in, Google personalizes your search experience based on your Web History. If you don't want to see results personalized based on your Web History while you're signed in, you can turn off Web History and remove it from your Google Account. You can also view and remove individual items, as well as pause your Web History.



Signed-in search history personalization         
Signed-out search history personalization
Where the data we use to customize is stored                
In Web History, linked to your Google Account
On Google's servers, linked to an anonymous browser cookie
How far back we use search history                       
Indefinitely or until you remove it
Up to 180 days
What searches are used to customize                   
Only signed-in search activity, and only if you have Web History enabled
Only signed-out search activity


How to turn off                    
Turn off search history personalization ("Signed in searches" section)
Turn off search history personalization ("Signed out searches" section)

What does Google allow you to do?


Track Your Searches

You can track all your searches on a feed reader like Google reader. Copy paste the link- https://www.google.com/history/lookup?hl=en&st=blogs&output=rss . You may have to give your username and password depending on which feed reader you are using. After that you will be able to keep a track of every search that you have performed using your Google username.

Best Options To Quickly Access and Delete

Go to the Google Settings page-

Here you will be able to –

  • Delete profile and Google+ features 
  • Delete entire Google account
  • View, enable, or disable web history 

 Recommended Option-

 You can use the new Google dashboard to view almost all the Google products and services you are using including Gmail and GTalk and modify or delete any information you think Google should not know.


  • I advice all Google+ users to proactively control what they want others to see. Google+ allows you to make each and every element of your personal information public or private or only available to select circles.
  • Be careful while using the extended circles option. If in doubt do not disclose. Keep things private.
  • Remember your Google+ account is designed to be a public profile of yourself. You can keep it private if you wish.
 However, if wisely used, your Google+ profile could be a great asset to further your professional ambition.

P.S- Important Update from the EFF:

 Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. It also does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could be sought by law enforcement.

With Web History enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months, and certain kinds of uses, including sending you customized search results, will be prevented. If you want to do more to reduce the records Google keeps, the advice in EFF's Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy white paper remains relevant.

If you have several Google accounts, you will need to do this for each of them.

1 comment:

Damian Bathory said...

They know a lot more than what many think. This alone makes such things as online reputation management all the more vital. Whether or not Google likes you can make a whole lot of difference to your online marketing campaign.

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