Now You Can Download Your Google History, Or Better Yet, Delete It

Now You Can Download Your Google History — Or Better Yet, Delete It

You can now download your entire Google search history to your computer. Sound neat? That's what I thought at first. And then I realised there were dangerous things in my search history — things way worse than my taste in porn.

I'm not talking about the embarrassing fact that I always start Pandora Radio by typing "Pandora" into Google — I guess I don't use bookmarks — or the names of all the people I've stalked through the web. I'm talking about the subject lines of my private emails. Hints about the stories I'm secretly working on. My tastes in all kinds of things other than porn. My own exact street address, culled from all the times I've searched for directions on Google Maps.

Now just think about all the things you might have searched for over the years.

Do you want a copy of that sitting on your computer? What use might you ever have for that information? Are you really planning to reminisce someday by digging through an avalanche of queries? Or do you think you'll need an alibi for a crime? I suppose there are worse things sitting on my computer, but they're not quite the same clearly marked treasure trove of insight into my entire life.

Clearly, someone at Google knows how dangerous this information can be, which is why they created the message you can read above. "It's not the usual yada yada," indeed. If you're going to download it, keep it safe. If you're willing to trust Google with this information, you should at least do as the company advises and set up two-factor authentication for some beefed up security.

Or, you could just delete the data. To their credit, Google makes it pretty damn easy. Just know that you'll miss out on some enhanced search results — and you might cripple your Google Now virtual assistant in the process. [Google]


Comments

    I went to download the archive and discovered that I had turned web history off on my google account.

      I tend to not even do Google searches while logged into my account, so not really an issue for me.

    Can I do this from my phone or do I have to use the dinosaur (computer)

    Wow, wiped. Easy and fast.

    I bet auto suggest will be less intuitive for a while, right?

    There will be a lot of things on there that I am not too proud about.

    Incognitbro had my back for most of my searches... I mean, what

    I find the location history and all this stuff pretty useful. Google Now is great and has really surprised me at times when suggesting accurate stories I might be interested in (usually yes), updates to a site I've been checking a bit recently etc.

    I've also found the location history very useful when trying to work out somewhere where I was at a certain date. It's fun to hit play and watch where you've been on holidays etc.

      I use it to work out how the hell I get home when I'm blackout drunk.

        I used it to double check it was me driving when I got a red light ticket :(

    The ability to download is new, the search history is not. I delete mine every few months ... no need for anyone to know about my penchant for collecting beanie babies ...

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