Google knows quite a bit about you…but how much does it really know? Take some time to have a look and make sure that the activity meets your personal privacy preferences.
Let’s find the settings. First, go to google.com. In the upper right corner, click on the square of squares:
Click on ‘My Account’
Click on ‘Manage your Google activity’ in the ‘Personal info & Privacy’ menu.
Sign in to your Google account.
Once logged in, you can control the settings for the following:
- Web and App Activity
- Location History
- Device Information
- Voice & Audio Activity
- YouTube Search History
- YouTube Watch History
For example, here are my past YouTube searches.
There are even more settings to explore when you look at the ‘Other Google Activity’ menu option. Keep in mind that that in addition to turning all these monitoring settings off, you can avoid a lot of this being tracked via two methods: 1) most browsers now have a built in feature to do private browsing (see screen shot of Chrome’s Incognito Mode), meaning all the settings like cookies and other tracking mechanisms are turned off. Keep in mind though, that when you use this feature, it will break a lot of sites. 2) Don’t log into Google!
If you use any of Google’s services (email, docs, drive, etc.), keep in mind that all this data is available to them by default.