As the company behind the world’s largest search engine, largest video-sharing platform, largest email provider, and largest mobile operating system, Google has many information about its users.
Many search or browse YouTube offline, which means the data Google has access to is anonymous. It knows how you behave on its sites, but according to the firm, this information cannot be traced back to you.
Everything changes if you’re signed in to a Google Account, the most convenient way to access personalized information across all your devices. Google is open about the data it collects and insists that “your privacy is protected by responsible data practices.” However, there are several steps you can take to control or limit what data the company has access to.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Google knows about you
Google is more than just a search engine as it collects a wealth of data from your searches and, that says a lot about you… Log in and go to google to view the search history that Google holds about you. You can also view your YouTube search history here.
More prosaic, but equally essential basic information is found in your account details. Log in and go to the page Manage your Google account to see the data you have provided to Google.
On the left, in Data & Privacy, you can view records from a wide range of Google tools and the activity they’re doing.
Here is in detail what Google learns about you:
- Your name, sex, date of birth
- Your email addresses and phone numbers
- Where you live and work
- Websites visited
- Your Google searches
- Targeted advertisements
- Your interests
- Places you have visited around the world
- Your YouTube searches and recently watched videos
- What you said toGoogle assistant via your smartphone and/or Google connected speakers
How to see your Google activity
Be aware that there is a Google feature that gives you the history of your activities. To access it, simply go to the page My activity.
Scrolling down, you’ll find a chronological list of all your activity, including searches, locations, YouTube and more. You can search for a specific item or filter by date/product.
The information that appears depends on the permissions you have granted. Here, Google warns that some same-day activity may not appear yet.
How to delete
Next to each activity and date, you will see a x. Click on it, then on To delete to confirm.
At the top right you will see the Delete option, click on it. You will be offered three options: Delete today’s activities, Delete a custom range, Delete all activity.
On the same page, you can also completely disable YouTube Activity or History. Just click on the corresponding buttons at the top of the page and choose disable.
What are your interests according to Google?
The main reason Google tracks all of this data about you is so that it can better target you with ads, in order to fund the services you have access to for free.
It is even more interesting to find out what Google thinks it knows about you and how this information is used to target advertisements
Log in and go to Settings. You’ll see what Google considers to be your gender and age, as well as your interests.
If you didn’t tell the truth when you entered basic information, or if you never entered it, you might find it amusing that Google is completely wrong about your age or gender..
It’s interesting to see the range of things Google thinks you care about, especially on a personal account. On the same page, you can also opt out of advertisements related to a specific identified interest, or opt out of personalization altogether.
You can also opt out of having website owners track you through Google Analytics. Just head over to the Google Analytics opt-out page, where you’ll find an add-on available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
Does Google know your routes and locations?
Google also thinks it knows where you’ve been recently. To do this, go position history.
This tracking is usually done using your phone’s GPS: chances are, even if you’re not using an Android phone, you’re signed into your Google account on an iPhone.
To stop this collection of geolocation data, just click on Manage history to delete it and deactivate it.
What devices, apps, and services have access to your Google data?
Google lets you know what permissions are required by installing apps or programs on your Android device.
On this page the devices, services, applications and the permissions granted to them are listed.
Select one or one, and just below you will be given all the details. Moreover, you have the possibility to revoke the permissions by a simple click on Remove access.
How to hide Google information visible to other users
Thanks to the tool About me (about me) from Google, you will know what is publicly visible.
You can click the pen icon on the right to edit or delete your personal data.
We also advise you to look at the privacy settings of your account. Meeting on your main account page and in the section Checking privacy settingsclick on to start up, twice. Finally, enable or disable the desired options.