Ask Dave Taylor: How Do I Delete My Google Search History?

how to delete google search history

By Dave Taylor

The Question: How Do I Delete My Google Search History?

I’m kind of freaking out. Apparently as of March 1st, 2012, Google will be tying together all the activity I do across any and all Google properties, and mining all of my old search history, both on Google the search engine and YouTube. Yikes! How can I opt out?

Dave’s Answer:

You’re right that Google is aggregating its complex web of privacy policies and simultaneously creating a single data store of all your search and usage history, though it doesn’t seem to extend to your Google Map searches, Google Doc document content, etc. As Google describes it, “We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read.”

More importantly: “We use information collected from cookies and other technologies… to improve your user experience and the overall quality of our services. For example, by saving your language preferences, we’ll be able to have our services appear in the language you prefer. When showing you tailored ads, we will not associate a cookie or anonymous identifier with sensitive categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation or health….We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example to make it easier to share things with people you know.”

Some people are very anxious about this change and others see it as digital business as usual and nothing to worry about. If you’re worried, there are a couple of things you can do, the easiest of which is to simply log out of your Google account prior to doing a search or similar. How to do that? Go to the Google home page and look on the top right for your name. If you see something like this:

delete google search history

Click on the tiny triangle and choose “Log Out”. Instead, you’ll then see:

how to delete my google search history

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This post is excerpted with permission from Dave Taylor.

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