Google Introduces New Search History Protection
Google, by default, tracks the activity log use of your smart home devices, Android devices, and even common services like YouTube or Chrome.
It is typically a lot of work to avoid this tracking without changing your use of these services. Therefore, the best course of action to take is to secure all your logged data.
Currently, anybody who is logged into a device with the same ID can see your activity log. Hence, you might assume that once you log out of all devices you no longer use at the moment, you’re safe.
However, besides regular security measures and two-factor authentication, Google’s services have expanded. They launched a new feature to make protecting the activity log saved in your Google account easier.
New Google Password Protect Feature for Search History
Today, you can enjoy privacy and password protection with Google. Now, Google allows users to password protect the Web & App Activity Page, web search histories, and Google Maps histories. Users can prevent other people from seeing their activity when logged into the same device with a password.
Your Web & App Activity page contains a vast amount of private data. As well as Search activity and Maps Activity, it collects your Google Assistant queries, browser extensions, Google Play Usage, YouTube Watch history, and more.
This data can help users retrace how they discovered something. Nonetheless, the principal reason Google tracks this history is to provide personalized ads and search results.
Fortunately, users can now stop this confidential data from being seen by unwanted parties and unapproved persons. Before this new update, all a person had to do to view your search history is get your laptop or phone and type activity.google.com into the address bar.
The new verification feature provided by Google allows users to set a password to be entered before anybody can view your Web & App Activity page.
How to Password Protect Your Google Search History
If you frequently share a laptop, PC, smart speaker, or Android tablet with other people in your house or workplace, this new verification feature is a great development.
Once you set the password, your web, location, and app history cannot be seen or interfered with by unapproved users. Your activity controls cannot also be interfered with anymore.
Here are some easy steps to enjoy privacy and password protection with Google:
- To turn on verification, follow the steps below.
- Log into your Google account.
- Go to activity.google.com
- Click on Manage My Activity verification
- Then, click Require Extra Verification
- Click Save
- Enter your password to confirm your identity
Once you have successfully protected your Google activity page, a Verify button will appear in place of your history.
When you click on the Verify button, it will direct you to a screen requesting your account password. Once you enter your password, you will be redirected to your activity page with all your web, app, and location history on display.
While you are still on your ‘Web and App Activity page, take some time to glance through exactly which of your activities Google is tracking. You can also turn on 2-factor authentication (if you haven’t already) to safeguard your Google account further.
Other Ways to Manage Your Google Activity History
There are other ways to manage your Google activity history.
One way is to turn off data collection. To do this, click on the row of buttons on your activity history page. There, you will see a data collection toggle that can be switched on or off.
When you click on one of the options from the row of buttons, you will be taken to another screen. Here, you can select if your Google activity should be automatically deleted after a chosen length of time.
The time frame options for auto-delete Google activity are 36 months, 18 months, and three months.
In addition, you can manually delete your history whenever you want. To make things even easier, Google recently introduced a remarkable new option for manual deletions.
Delete Last 15 Minutes of Google Search History
At the most recent Google I/O, the company launched a feature that allows users to delete the last 15 minutes of search history. To use this new and fast feature, click on your Google account profile picture and tap ‘delete last 15 minutes.
This new feature may be very beneficial in situations where you’re browsing on a topic or subject that you would rather keep private. This deletion option will stop the queries from being of use to personalize future ads and search results.
Google also introduced a new Private Computer Core and a locked photos folder at the recent Google I/O; to increase privacy options.
Online privacy is a growing concern, particularly as the internet keeps advancing. It is a welcome development to have a password that protects your activity log and tracking data.
You can also take things further by turning off Google tracking. Ask yourself if you want your information being tracked and displayed in this manner.
If you are fine with it, ensure you set up 2-factor authentication and the new password-protect activity feature. If you rather not have your information saved in this manner, set up account activity auto-delete or turn off tracking completely.
What Information Does Google track or collect?
Does Google Track your search history even when you are logged off?
Even when you are not into Google, tons of your information is available by just being on the internet. These include your IP address, your location, server information, and more. This information can be of use by Google for targeted/retargeted ad placements and search relevancy. Website owners can also access this tracking data through Google Analytics.
How can I stop Google from tracking my data?
Other than using methods like activity auto deletion or turning off data tracking in your web & app activity page, you can use alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo. You can also use other free email services rather than Gmail.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.