Here’s a New Year’s resolution for 2018: de-clutter your digital history. Your computer stores a huge amount of browsing data, and in places you might never think to look. This meticulous chronology makes you vulnerable to snoops and advertising trackers. The solution: eliminate it.
Here are three ways to cover your tracks, using two of the biggest services on the internet. You may be surprised how closely these companies follow you, but you may be even more surprised how much control you have over it. Later at the end of this post, don’t miss how to erase your search history on your phone.
1. Erase Your Google Search History
Google’s mission is to know everything, so few are surprised that the world’s most famous search engine keeps close records of your browsing history. This might seem harmless at first: Your computer remembers the websites you visit, so it’s easier to access them later on, right? What’s the big deal?
But here’s another way to look at it: The tech giant knows everything you’ve ever searched. If you have a Google account, the corporation archives it, not just on your computer, but in its own databases. So, you can’t just erase your search history from your browser and hope for the best. Google still knows all.
Speaking of tracking, many people are unaware Google also tracks your physical location. You can see where and when you go on a map. Click here to learn about the Google tracking feature you didn’t even know you switched on.
The good news is that you can delete all that data, and you don’t have to storm the Googleplex headquarters to do it. Instead, you can clear your history from the comfort of your personal computer, thanks to a little feature called “My Activity.”
Google has dozens of basic features, and most people would never notice this option. But if you click My Account in the upper right corner, you can hit My Activity >> Delete Activity By. A little box will appear, and you can change the Delete by Date field to All Time. Google takes pains to remind you how beneficial your search history is, but you now have the option to remove all this data for good.