Remember how everybody was warning each other that you must clear your Google search history and then completely turn it off for good? Well, Google doesn’t like that very much. They want you to turn your history page back on so that they can record everything you do.
So let’s say you’re planning to go out to a restaurant later in the day and you searched the address of that restaurant on your desktop computer. Later in the day, as you’re traveling to get to the restaurant, you forget the address of that restaurant that you recently just searched for. No need to worry. Just pull out your smartphone and go to Google’s homepage. From there you can click on the “Recent” icon and it will pull out your search history.
Wow! I’m blown away by this new search experience…hmm, not really. Anyway, Google says that in order to take advantage of this, you must enable search history again and you must be logged in when doing your searches. Give up your privacy to Google so that you can remember restaurant addresses – sound fair and reasonable to you?
If you insist on using Google, try to protect yourself and keep Google at a safe distance. I would recommend never enabling search history and never doing searches while logged on to a Google account that has your personal information on it (like your name, address, and pictures).
You can even make multiple accounts for Google – a serious account and a frivolous account. You can create a fictional persona to attach your searches and just lie to Google.
Kevin Fogarty, who writes for ITWorld, wrote an amusing article on what you can do to better protect yourself against Google. If you’re not going to stop using Google altogether, if you’re not going to turn off tracking cookies on your browser, if you’re not going to install free add-ons to your browser to block tracking companies – you can, at the very least, just lie.
“It’s not a crime; it’s not an ethical violation. It’s not even particularly rude, considering how intimate, complete and unwanted a profile Google is building of you. Protect yourself a little without hurting anyone; be someone else for a while. If it confuses anyone trying to keep track of you online, it serves them right. No one has the right to follow you all the time without your consent. No one has the right to know everything you do. No one has the right to insist you always tell the truth when they’re asking intrusive, manipulative questions without answers to which they won’t give you the free service they promised when you hit their site in the first place.”
And if you’re really creeped out by Google, then you still have the option to back up your files stored on Google and ditch Google for good. It is possible for you to download your data from Google and then permanently delete your account. You can follow the illustration on how to do this by going to CNET “How to” page about this – click here.
For more information:
CNET, “Google saves searches across devices with ‘recent’ icon” – click here
Google’s Blog – click here
PCWorld, “Protect your online privacy: Lie” – click here