Monday, 29 October 2018 03:30

How to make sure your Google search history is private

By  Jamie McKane

Source: This article was Published mybroadband.co.za By Jamie McKane - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

If you are anything like most computer users in the Western world, you use Google to trawl the web for everything from informative articles about online privacy to cat video compilations.

In return for providing this powerful and intelligent search platform, Google collects data and analyses search activity to power its advertising services.

While a staggering number of people use Google Search every day, many may not be fully aware of the data being collected about their searches.

Google has recently launched a new portal that outlines the data it collects around your search and browsing activity, as well as allowing you to change various permissions to limit the search giant’s access to your information.

This Your Data in Search page can be accessed from the Google homepage via the settings menu on both desktop and mobile.

View and delete your history

The page offers a breakdown of your recent recorded search activity, as well as any websites you recently visited based on those results.

Google does not collect any search and browsing information when you use Chrome’s Incognito browsing mode, but the websites you visit in this mode can still be visible to your ISP.

If you have been careless with your use of Incognito mode or simply would prefer for your search data not be stored and referenced by Google, you can choose to delete your search history directly from this page.

You can opt to delete just the last hour of searches or your entire history.

Google explains that it collects and analyses search history data to aid in improving its search algorithms. The company also collects the location of each device you search from.

There are advantages to this data collection, as Google does provide suggestions based on previous searches and locations, but users concerned about personal privacy can choose to delete their search history rather than take advantage of these features.

Change how your activity is saved

Your search activity data is saved in your Google account, and the extent of this can be controlled to help you find a balance between privacy and accessibility.

The Your Data in Search page can also be used to change Google-wide privacy controls, allowing users to select exactly what data is collected by the company.

When it comes to keeping your search history private, concerned users should disable the Web & App Activity option to prevent the storage of activity on Google sites, apps, and services.

It is important to note that this will have a major effect on user experience, like location, details, and previous searches will not be saved across websites.

Google also uses search activity data to show users advertisements it thinks they might be interested in.

This can be turned off but it will not prevent advertisements from appearing, only change them to more generic ads.

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