These days, the Internet is awash with privacy concerns. Before Mark Zuckerberg was dominating headlines over privacy concerns, he was a budding ingénue about to change the world with the very first official social networking site. In this vein, it’s only right that we think about our Google search history. Every search we make on Google, no matter how strange, is logged into the system. Although our searches are harmless insights into what we’re planning to eat tonight or how to say “privacy” in another language, it’s still worth clearing the history now and again.
What is Google History?
In short, your search history is a log of all of the searches and queries you've made on Google. It's also a handy way that Google customizes the Internet towards what works for you. Whether by targeted advertising or quickening your user experience, they keep that data in their system. Essentially, every single search you make – while you're signed into your Google account – is stored.Note: Taking a peek at your search history might also make you laugh.
Why do I need Google history?
As previously stated, Google's search history does have its benefits. Furthermore, while you don't exactly need a search history, it's certainly not a useless feature. Advertising, for example, is just a fact of Internet life. If you have to see an ad, wouldn't you prefer it to be something that you're actually interested in? You know, rather than the flashing "WIN AT CASINO!" ads of yesteryear. Google will take your search history into account.
What are the benefits of having a search history?
As well as advertising, your search history offers a host of benefits. One of the benefits that we might use more than we realize, is searching directly from the Chrome browser. Simply by typing a search into the address bar will bring up some of the choices from your search history. For example, if you once Googled "animals of the Serengeti," typing "anima" into your address bar will bring up the previous search as an option. Think of all the time saved through that alone.Note: Your search history is not the same as your browser history – they're entirely different beasts!
What's the difference between search history and browser history?
Your search history tends to be stored by Google whereas your web history is stored on your computer. Browsing history is saved no matter which browser you're using. Every website you visit will be stored in your browser history to make visiting them faster. Speed is massively desired these days, after all. The quicker, the better. On the other hand, search history stores your queries.
Will Google history affect my computer’s performance?
Google history won't affect your computer's performance in any way. Browsing history, on the other hand, may slow things down. This is why it's important to clear your browser history every so often. As far as searching goes, you could arguably never clear your Google history, and even the most dinosaur of computers wouldn't see any performance issues.
Will my search history infringe on my privacy?
Although Google is a relatively safe and trustworthy service, data privacy concerns are no laughing matter. In fact, Google's business model includes tracking as much of your data as they can. With that said, they're less interested in your most intricate bits of data. It's merely the fact that they need some of it in order to actually have their service. Additionally, they've even gone the extra mile in making it easier than ever to delete your history.
Is clearing your Google history easy?
Clearing or deleting your Google history couldn't be simpler. In fact, it's as simple as visiting a specially-created URL. In doing so, your account will go from including all of your strange and informative searches to having what will essentially be a clean slate. Sometimes, as with every aspect of life, a clean slate makes all the difference.
How do I clear my Google search history?
If you're logged into Google already, head on over to "My Activity". On this page, you'll see a list of every search you've made on Google and YouTube, sites you've visited in Chrome, and soon-to-be Google Maps data. You can also decide which parts you want to delete and which you don't.
- Go to "My Activity" at Google
- Click "Delete activity by"
- Select the date ranges of the data you would like to delete
- Choose which products (YouTube, Search, etc) you'd like to clear the history of
- Click "Delete"
Can I stop Google from saving my activity?
While Google understandably doesn't give you the option to fully disable your activity, you can choose to pause it if you really wish. However, it's really not necessary to stop Google from tracking your activity. It can actually be very detrimental to your user experience. That said, if you really do want to pause Google's tracking, you can.
- Go to your Activity controls page
- In the "Web & App Activity" section, click the slider to the left
- You'll be asked if you're sure you want to pause and, if so, click "PAUSE"
Note: Be careful with this! Part of the personalized Google experience is why we love using the web the way we do.
Did you know…?
Google's commitment to user experience is strong. So much so, the Google search engine also includes tons of Easter Eggs! For example, if you're a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan, try asking Google what the meaning of life is. Alternatively, if you're bored at work, why not Google "play Solitaire"? Google changed the way we look at everything – so no matter your privacy concerns, they're a trustworthy bunch.