Like most of us, you’ve probably wondered what data Google collects on you as you surf the web using its search engine? It’s no secret that Google probably knows a lot about you.
Google tracks almost everything you do on the Internet— this includes your searches, the music you listen to, videos you watch, and even places you travel to, etc., to create a personal profile.
And the next glaring question is, what does Google do with this information? The main motive is to tailor relevant ads to its users and better improve their overall service.
Now, Google has a plan to make it easier to control all data the company collects across all your devices.
Are you curious about what information the search giant has saved about you?
Now, thanks to a new tool called Google My Activity, there exists a searchable history of pretty much everything you do online. This includes all activities you’ve done within the tech giant’s many services.
How to Manage, View, or Delete Your Google Activity Using “My Activity”
“My Activity is a central place to view and manage activity like searches you’ve done, websites you’ve visited, and videos you’ve watched,” so reads a quote by Google itself. “Your activity is listed as individual items, starting with the most recent. These items might be part of bundles, which group similar activity together.”
The plethora of Google products that work with the My Activity page include:
- Video and Image Search
Search My Activity (Google)
Soon, you will see a prompt on Google services asking you to check your security settings. A new opt-in option will ask you if you’d like personalized ads based on your demographic and search history to display on third-party sites, reports Wired.
By opting in, you will allow Google to use all of the information related to your account across services including Search, Chrome, and YouTube to offer better ads for you across the web.
The feature is most beneficial for those who want more granular control over how ads work across all their devices linked with Google account. It essentially gives them the ability to block ads they don’t want to see/don’t concern them.
For example, if an incredibly annoying ad for a mobile phone haunts you across the web, you can prevent that ad from appearing at all. The personalized ad feature also offers you an option to delete search items as well. This can involve everything in a particular date range or by specific topics.
Extra privacy options:
If you are one of those extra privacy-conscious people, you can adjust your settings in the Privacy Checkup. You can change your settings for ultimate privacy, depending on how much of your online activity you allow Google to track.
You can even suspend web and application activity tracking for My Activity, but that could potentially impact features like autocomplete suggestions.
Take the right precautions
Google recently came out with some super-valuable security information that requires little effort on your part. The security boost is ample and you can do it with just the click of a few buttons. Here are the three things you can easily do to stay private online.
YouTube now has a feature where you can auto-delete any of your search history If you navigate to your account settings on the site, you will find a field that asks you if you’d like to set a time period for this. You could have YouTube save your searches for 3 months, 6 months, etc. before it automatically deletes it all. This way, you won’t have to worry about constantly deleting your YouTube search history manually.
If you have a Google Assistant, such as a Google Home or Nest, it can save your voice data for research purposes. That isn’t great if you want to be as private as possible when it comes to Google. So, instead of having to manually navigate to the app settings, you can just say, “Hey Google, delete my last message to you” or something of the like. Right then and there, Google is obligated to delete that message and any others you might mention. Props to the tech giant for making this a bit easier for people!
If you have Google Maps, chances are it is saving some of your data. This isn’t necessarily malicious, but in fact, can be used o make your life a bit easier when searching for destinations. However, if you’re not inclined to let Google save your information, you can use the Incognito Mode feature. Now that Google allows Incognito Mode on Maps, you’ll be able to browse, set waypoints, and travel discreetly without Google saving your whereabouts or destinations.
Overall, Google has introduced a couple more great measures for your personal security that I recommend taking as soon as you can. Only do this if you really want to go off the grid! It can’t hurt, but you won’t get personalized search recommendations or convenient saved searches at the same volume as before.
Do you use personalized ads? Why do you prefer this?