Thursday, November 20, 2014
Here's How to Find Out What Google Knows About You and How to Delete It
Have you ever wondered just how much information Google has on you and how you can remove it? Here are several of the links you can visit to help you identify what personal information Google has collected on you from its various services and site and steps you can take to remove that information.
First up let me say I share most of the privacy concerns of the average person out there. However, I've been in the tech industry for a couple decades now. So I'm also very aware of how most sites and services use my own personal data and I'm not one that is overly concerned with what Google is doing with that information. Second, I'll say that for some of you the shear volume and detail of the information collected might be a bit of a shock. So brace yourselves!
Before continuing you'll want to log into your Google Account as only then can you access any of this information or change the settings. Just remember that disabling some of these services may slow down things like search, or completely remove others like Google Now.
Remove your smartphone location data: For some this might be a bit shocking but Google tracks a lot of location information based on where your smartphone is. For starters visit https://maps.google.com/locationhistory this will show the location history Google has saved.You can view your history, plotted on a map, from as far back as 30 days ago.
To turn off location tracking in Android - Go to the Settings app, scroll down and tap on the Location section then tap Google Location Reporting and switch Location History to “off.”
Note: For greater privacy, you can also turn off Location Reporting, but this will keep apps like Google Maps from working properly.
Remove your Google Search history: As you search Google the site collects your entire Google search history and remembers it to make future searches that much faster. For some this makes things a ton easier but for others it might be a bit intrusive. To view what is being collected and/or remove your search history you can do so by visiting https://history.google.com. You can also remove individual items if you want, or stop Google completely from saving your search history. Of course, this will also make it impossible for you to use awesome Google services like Google Now.
Remove Google Now voice searches:You may not be aware of this but if you are a Google Now user, Google saves snippets of your search inquires. To see and remove the you can also see a logs of all your audio visit this link: https://history.google.com/history/audio
Opt out of Ads: Tired of those seeing some of those targeted Ads? Luckily it is easy to Opt-out. Find out what Google thinks about you and view their basic profile of you, your age, gender and interests. They use this data to You can review how Google sees you here: https://www.google.com/ads/preferences/ with opt-out links listed at the bottom of the page.
Find the apps and extensions that are accessing your Google data:
If you use Google to log into various sites and services or use Apps like Chrome, Google Play Music Manager or browser extension. Then there are chances there are apps that have some sort of access to your data. You can see the exact type of permissions granted to each app as well as many of your device and revoke access to your data here: https://security.google.com/settings/security/permissions
Find out what devices have accessed your Google account:
If you worry that someone else might be using your account, you can find a list of all of the devices that have accessed your Google account, their IP address, time when they last logged in and approximate location here:
https://security.google.com/settings/security/activity. You can also remove device access and further secure your account by changing your password.
For a full overview, as well as things like your recent YouTube views and searches as well as settings for other services like Google+ you can visit https://www.google.com/settings/accounthistory where you'll find links to all of the above and more!