How to find out everything Google knows about you
Though many fail to realise it while they are innocently searching for things like cheap flights or trendy clothes, you are actually revealing more about yourself to Google than you might think.
It’s not just Google the search engine keeping tabs on you either, sites owned by Google such as Gmail, Drive and even YouTube will monitor the content you enjoy to then tailor advertising back at you.
Google has a vast amount of information on anyone who has ever signed up to its email service or owns a Google-owned Android phone. Things such as your name, phone number, email address, home address and day to day location are all known to the site at all times.
But while it may seem obvious Google has all that information (after all, you gave it to them when setting up your accounts), you may not realise that it also knows everything you have enquired about via the search engine.
The things you click on, not just on Google services but almost every site, are also stored and saved.
However, if the prospect of being kept in the dark over what Google does and doesn’t know about you is a frightening one fear not, there is a way you can find out for yourself.
If you can find the discreetly placed "Web & App Activity” page, you can see what Google is watching.
There is also a way of identifying what Google knows about you, and from there one can change the kind of tailored advertisements they are littering your internet with. This can be done via visiting a site called “Ads settings.”
To find these pages, you must be logged in to Google, from there – visit; "https://history.google.com/history/"before clicking on “all time”.
This will unlock a huge list of all the web pages you have searched for and visited. They can be deleted, but Google makes this a frustratingly slow process with only one day’s worth of search history allowed to be deleted at a time, meaning it would take an incredible amount of time to wipe a year's worth of search history.
Just prior to deletion, Google will try and steer you away from the idea, but don’t worry, your account with Google will not be jeopardised should you wish to wipe your internet slate clean.
Much like with your search history, all records of your location data can also be removed.
Via a small menu button at the top of your page, you can access the location records as well as YouTube history and data and delete them all via the same tedious process as your search history, with just one day’s worth at a time allowed to be wiped in one go.
One of the more eerie features of Google Maps allows you to see a timeline of your entire location history, showing everywhere you travelled and when you made the trip.
This can be deleted via a settings button in the bottom corner of the page, but not before giving you the chance to “download a copy of all your data” for yourself.
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Finally, you can also see the kind of information advertisers have access to when determining what kind of ads are suited to your internet history.
This info can be found via the “my account” button, which takes you to the account settings page. The “activity controls” page allows all users to explore the daily information about them stored by Google.
On the same page, if you click “ads settings” before visiting the “control ads settings” page, you’ll be able to see all of the topics and hobbies Google think you enjoy in a bid to find the most suitable tailored ads for you.
By scrolling down you’ll find a "control signed-out ads" button where you can turn off "interest-based ads", thus ending Google’s ability to share information about you with its advertisers.
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