Google makes it easier to delete your search history
Google launched an update today that make sit easier for Google users to delete the search history. The company records search activity for signed-in users and associates it with a user's account.
While it was possible previously to delete certain activity, how that was done was not very straightforward or comfortable.
Users had to open the My Activity page after signing in to their Google account to delete some or even all of the records. The page had no "delete all" button, however, which reduced usability quite a bit.
Today's change makes things a lot easier as it requires just a click on the "Your data in Search" page to clear the entire search history that Google associates with the account.
Google added a link to the data management options on its main Google Search page but Google customers may open the link directly as well if they prefer to go there directly.
- Load https://myactivity.google.com/privacyadvisor/search in your browser of choice to get started; this opens the "Your data in Search" management page on Google's My Activity website.
- Scroll down to "Delete your Search activity" on the page.
- Select "Delete all Search activity" to erase the entire history or "Delete last hour" to only erase searches made in the last 60 minutes.
- Confirm that you want the records to be deleted by selecting "delete" when the popup opens.
Google reveals underneath the option that selecting delete will erase activity data including search terms and the links that users activated on search results pages.
The popup highlights that Google may keep some Telemetry data, e.g. the number of searches of a user, after the search activity that is on record is deleted.
Users may disable Web & App Activity on the same page to disable the saving of search activity. Doing so affects "all Google service that rely on Web & App Activity" for personalized services.
Google published a video on YouTube that advertises the benefits of recording a user's search activity.
The changes are available for desktop and mobile search offerings on the Web as of today. Google plans to roll out updates for its Android and iOS applications to integrate the functionality as well. These will roll out in the coming weeks to Google users worldwide.
The improved option to delete search activity, especially the direct link from the main Google Search homepage, will make things easier for Google users and may introduce that option to users who did not know about it before.
Now You: What is your take on the change?
As with my Facebook comment before this topic, I never created an account, so I have no sign-in to use.
I assume that Google kept a record of my searches just the same, perhaps using some level of “fingerprinting”.
It would be nice to be able to delete my past Google searches, but I don’t see how.
There are no recent or future Google searches for me to scrub, since I switched to DDG a long time back. I do still use Google Maps (without signing in) because I have not found anything better, so I wonder what history they keep there. Too much, I assume.
If you only use one computer, you can at least remove the data from that one by pressing Ctrl+SHift+Delete. Then press Enter, after setting the cleaning to “all time”. Then press Ctrl+W to close the tab. If it’s the only open tab, it’ll close Chrome also.
Did Google learn something from all the Facebook fiascos? Anyway this makes things simpler.
The settings until know in my experience were deliberately meant to make it cumbersome.
For the rest it remains my best privacy mining browser :-)
@Sebas: “Did Google learn something from all the Facebook fiascos?”
Given that Google is not scaling back on their spying efforts, I’d say no.
Yeah right. If google announces they won’t track users anymore would you believe?
I avoid ever creating a “search history” in the first place…by using Startpage and DuckDuckGo exclusively.
Google makes it easier to hide at your eyes (keeping a secret backup) your search history.
Iâ€™m stupid enough to believe Google actually â€˜deletesâ€™ anything.
How about if I don’t have a Google account?
My wife’s cell phone got lost and we were unable to trace it because of no Google account and location service disabled.
On android you can use also Samsungs account to enable location but that needs Google location too.
I do not know of any other trick to enable location on a android cellphone.
I recommend using an app called Tasker. There is a Tasker script that allows you to find you lost phone without requiring an account anywhere at all. What it does is lets you text a code word (that you define) to your phone that causes the phone to take a GPS reading and (optionally) take a photo from front and/or rear cameras, then texts that data back.
There are numerous independent apps that can do that. No need to give Google your entire life’s history.
What ever… I guess all those social sites are all going through an NSA box automagically backing up everything, just in case… :)
As someone else said, I don’t have a Google account, so supposedly they aren’t tracking my non-existant search history. Let’s see, the last time I did a real search was August of 2016??
But my FireFox browser opens on the Google search page, a holdover from about 10 or more years ago.
Now, daily, when I open my FireFox browser, I get this wonderful, useless notice saying I can “Browse or delete your Search activity data.”
I’d love to get rid of that additional piece of garbage.