Sirirat/ShutterstockInternet users, beware: Google is always watching.
The tech powerhouse recently launched two new hubs, giving us scary insight into what it actually knows about us. “My Account” provides a glimpse into the information the company collects about us and allows us to change our settings. And then there’s a new tool called “My Activity,” where we can view almost all of our online activity that’s tied our Google accounts.
It’s no surprise that the popular search engine collects lots of data about us through our search history, location, and voice searches. Plus, because iPhone and Android devices are tied to our Google accounts, any web or app activity—including our search history and activity in maps—are automatically turned on for tracking. (It’s also one of the reasons why you should stop using Google, Facebook, and Twitter to log into apps.) Keeping tabs on our preferences improves Google’s services and provides relevant ads for us. However, here’s the scary part for all you privacy buffs out there: the “My Activity” launch reveals that Google can take a comprehensive look at all of the data it has on you, at any given point in time.
Creepy, right? Thankfully, there’s an easy way to stop Google from tracking your web activity. Go to “My Account” and select “Manage your Google Activity” under the “Personal info & privacy” tab. Selecting “activity controls” will show you what data Google tracks on you. To disable it, simply click the blue slider icon on the right.
Now, let’s say you want to be extra cautious and delete your web activity completely. On your “My Activity” page, select the menu icon (three vertical dots) in the upper right hand corner. Select “Delete activity by” and then, in the drop down menu, choose “All time.” If you want to delete data within a specific time period, just select the certain dates in the drop down menu.
But that isn’t the only thing you can do using Google! Try these cool Google tricks you never knew existed.