How would you feel if you knew that you could see your search history, going back years? If you are willing to take that risk regarding your own mentality, keep reading but be prepared to face your worst enemy, the “big brother”.
I wish you could see my face when I first realised that Google allowed me to sign-in to my Gmail account and review my entire search history. I was shocked at first, of course, as it was like having my whole online life passing in front of my eyes. But at the very end I found it quite entertaining so you should give it a try!
How it works!
It’s pretty simple, you just visit history.google.com, login to your Gmail account and there you have it, you can see anything that you searched while you were logged into your E-mail or Google account (even on your mobile or tablet), luckily you can delete part or the whole of it. You can also download it by pressing the gear located on your right and choose download. It’s a wise choice when you want to delete your history online, but have it stored on a device (just be careful not to download it to a shared device).
Deleting your history is easy, you just have to select the ones you want to delete by using the left box next to each search or you could always delete them all by using the select all box located at the top and then press the remove items button.
Please remember that when Web & App Activity is on, this data may be saved from any of your signed-in devices.
How to stop Google from storing your history
You only have to visit your account and pause it, but again Google is warning you that they may still track your searches in order to improve the quality of your search results, you are just stopping them from showing your searches to you! So those of you that thought that you could stop Google from stalking you, think again.
User’s can turn on and off their history.
We already know that most search engines keep a log on their servers of everything you ever searched for, for purposes beyond improving your search experience, like targeted ads, but many argue (including myself) that by allowing easy access to your history, one just need your Gmail’s password to access both your history and E-mail.
Web & App Activity stores your searches and other things you do on Search, Maps and other Google services, including your location and other associated data.
Forget all about major search engines!
You may wonder, why go to all that trouble and use another search engine that you might not find that appealing if you can just log out of your Gmail and search all you like? Well, bad news for you once again, they can also link your IP Address to the search, so let’s take a look at a couple of alternatives.
You could use a VPN to visit Google, this way you can hide your IP address, and once you finish your browsing, clear all your cookies (small files that are stored when you visit almost every website). That could significantly help your private life stay, private. You could also make use of Incognito or InPrivate browsing modes which don’t by default login to your Google account.
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There are also plenty of search engines out there which guarantee that no log is stored and that no IP is recorded, meaning that once you are finished with your search no evidence exists. You can easily find them using Google (!) but a few to try that I personally recommend are :-
DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t log your searches.