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Google and Your Privacy

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today's the last day to delete your Google Browsing History.

This only applies to people who have Gmail, YouTube or other Google services (like AdWords or Analytics)...which means it should probably apply to pretty much everybody : )

Okay - seriously though. If you don't have an account with Google, you can ignore this post.

For the rest of you, why does this matter?

I've had an account with Google since 2006. I have never given a thought to the Browsing History, which is activated whenever you do a search and visit webpages while you're logged into your Google account. I had a look at mine - which spanned all the way back to 2006.

Google keeps track of all that stuff and their new privacy policy (which takes effect tomorrow) will allow them to compile all that information into your profile.

So what?

Well, consider that where you've been online can give ideas about your interests, location, age, religion, health concerns yada yada and you get the idea. Specifically, why should Google know this information about you? Moreover, why should they be able to track everything you do online while signed in to your Google account?

If you are concerned, here's what you can do to limit Google's ability to collect information about you online.

  1. Go to Google's homepage and sign into your account.
  2. There's a dropdown menu next to your name in the upper right corner. Click on it and select "account settings"
  3. Click on the "services" section.
  4. Under services there is an option to "view, enable, disable web history". Click the link that reads "Go to web history"
  5. Once there, click on "remove all web history".

This step will remove your entire web history in Google's records and will pause the web history function. This means that Google will still be collecting that information but it will now all be anonymous.

If you're concerned about your online privacy and have a Google account, this is probably an important step for you to take.

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