Google, the number one search engine and one of the most powerful tech companies around, known and used by most companies and individuals. Google provides a wide range of highly advanced products to internet users – free of any charge!
Anyway, that’s what most people believe.
In fact, you are the product of Google and they build their entire business around data that users generate on a daily basis. Every single search query, click, action and online behaviour are stored on Google’s database.
Google lets you use their tools and you pay with data. Google is gathering your data to create an online profile on you. Personal information, which you entered when creating a Gmail account or Google Drive account, language, location, interests, search activity, what YouTube videos you watch and much more is used to create a profile.
Google uses these profiles to dominate the online advertising industry. It’s not only using their tools that generates data but also installed tracking cookies in your browser.
In this article, I’ll explain how you can erase yourself from Google’s database and restore your privacy.
Main Dashboard Navigation
When you login to your “My Account Google,” you’ll end up in the main dashboard. It allows you to navigate to all the different sections. Here, you can change ad settings, manage privacy settings, download your activities, Google photos and erase all data Google has on you.
Important to know is that when you delete all your activities, you’ll delete anything saved on Google Photos. Thus, if you want to keep any important data before deleting it, you can download that from Google’s data takeout page.
- Select the data you want to download and deselect the other archives
- Scroll down and click “Next”
- Choose the file size, archive size and delivery method
- Then, click “Create Archive”
- The selected data is saved and you can proceed with the steps below
So, follow to steps below to delete erase all your activities:
- Go to My Account Google
- Under the Personal info & privacy section, click “Go to My Activity”
- You’re now in My Activity dashboard
- Now, click on “Delete activity by” in the upper-left box
- To delete everything, select “All time” under “Delete by date”
- In order to delete all activities, select “All products” in the drop-down menu
- Finally, tap “Delete” at the bottom of the list
- You’ll receive a popup, proceed by clicking “OK”
- Another popup will show to re-confirm, click “Delete” again
That’s it. You’ve now successfully your entire activity from all time.
At this point, you’ve got a clean sheet again. You can decide to abandon Google for good and use alternative tools but you can also disallow Google from creating a profile, ad tracking and more.
Here’s how you can adjust the activity controls:
- Head over to the Activity controls page
- Simply scroll down the list of activities and shift the blue slider to the left (it’ll turn grey) in order to disable Google from collecting data.
- Web & App activity, Location history, Device information, and so on.
Interestingly, Google has “hidden” the Ads personalisation, Google+ and shared endorsements, which don’t show in the menu you’re in now. This is how to turn that off:
- Scroll down the activity controls page and tap on Google+, Shared endorsements and Ads
- On the Google+ page, scroll all the way down and click “DELETE YOUR GOOGLE+ PROFILE”
- Proceed with the steps to fully erase your Google+ profile
- On the shared endorsements page, deselect “Based upon my activity, Google may show my profile name, profile photo and activity in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” to disable the feature
- Then, head over to the Ads page.
- Tap “More Options” and disable the square box “personalise ads on websites and apps that partner with Google to show ads”
- Next, turn off ad personalisation
By going through the steps listed above, you can be sure your online privacy is restored and erased yourself from Google. You won’t be disturbed by ads from Google partners, your location history is private and Google doesn’t collect your search history any longer. In case you continue using Google instead of Google alternatives, make sure to disable and adjust all the tracking and activity functions. If you don’t, you have to repeat the same process again.
Is Google breaking our privacy?
Google is not harming our privacy, as it is a public space. It is used to search for products and company information, which is beneficial to users, as it provides them with the best information available. The advantage of the private approach is that it provides a more private space for discussion and no one would know about your personal business. It also allows users to share information with others, which could be beneficial in some cases. Google has some advantages over other search engines, such as being one of the most well-known names in the world, having more than a billion users worldwide.
Is there any harm if Google asks for location access?
Many times, Google asks the user to turn on their locations. It is completely safe to give it this access. Google tracks the IP addresses and location using this data and uses it to personalize ads for you. It also uses the location of users to optimize its location services by predicting their movement patterns. It shows the product and search preferences according to the region users live in.
What does Google do with the search history?
The search history is your digital footprint. It is unique to you even if it is shared by many others. Within it, you can trace your steps and search for any words or phrases you have previously searched for, and see which sites and pages you have visited on the web. The data that Google collects about your search history is used to provide a better experience for you when you use Google products such as search and Gmail. The data also helps Google tailor advertising that is more relevant to you. This is called personalized advertising. The data is also used to improve Google products and services for the benefit of users.