Make us your home page
Instagram

How to make Google forget your most embarrassing searches

Google probably knows you better than your closest friends and family. With every search you make or YouTube video you watch, the search giant is quietly collecting information for a personalized profile it uses to serve you targeted ads. But a new tool called My Activity makes it easier than ever to see what information Google is stockpiling about you — and delete things you would rather it forget. Here's what you need to know about this new tool and how it can help you manage your privacy.

What exactly is My Activity?

It's basically a time line that shows you what Google has saved about your online activities going back as far as Google has been tracking them. You can find it by going to https://myactivity.google.com. There you'll find a big chronological list of things you've done using Google's services — the searches you've made, videos you've watched on YouTube, and so on. You can even search through the data trove to look up a specific record or activity Google has saved — like maybe the time you searched for a home remedy for plantar warts — or filter the time line by date or type of activity.

I can delete things?

Yes, and it's pretty simple. First, you need to find the record you want to delete, which is made easy with the search bar at the top of the page. From there you can open a little menu by clicking on the three vertical dots on the right end of the record. Select the delete option on that menu, and Google will forget it.

What if I want Google to stop tracking this sort of data?

If so, you can "pause" Google's data collection whenever you want. To lock things down, head to https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols. From there, you can tell Google to stop saving information about things such as your searches, location history and YouTube watching habits.

But if looking back through your My Activity time line has you a little paranoid, it's probably also worth running through Google's Privacy Checkup. That feature, which can be found at https://myaccount.google.com/privacycheckup/, uses a simple interface to not only help you manage what data is being saved by Google, but also things like what information about you may be public through services like Google+.

How to make Google forget your most embarrassing searches 07/06/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 7:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  2. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa

    Business

    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  3. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'

    Business

    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  4. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Senate GOP leaders face tough job in selling health-care bill to their members

    Health

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday moved swiftly to begin selling their health-care measure to substantially rewrite the Affordable Care Act to their wary members as they seek to garner enough support to pass the bill in an expected vote next week.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]