Help! Google Knows Too Much and I Want to Delete My Data
Companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and others are slowly coming under more pressure from the public. Consumers are losing faith in their ability to protect users’ private information. But Google is another tech corporation that has managed to stay out of the crosshairs. They’ve built trust with their users by tightening their infrastructure, being upfront about the data they take, and what they use it for as well as using security measures to protect the data. But what kinds of information does Google keep, are they taking more data than you realize and what can you do to protect your personal information?
How does Google uncover your personal information?
The clue is often in the name. When you use Google Search, Google Maps, Google Photos, Google News, Google Fit, or Gmail, you are giving Google access to your information. Chrome is a Google web browser. YouTube operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. In short, Google owns many of the internet services you may use on a daily basis.
You know those “terms of service” that you never read? You usually just tap the button that says, “I agree to these terms and conditions” and move on with your day. You probably just agreed to give Google access to your username, contacts, photos, location, or other sensitive information. And any time you log on, click or search using these platforms, Google tracks your online activity and gathers more data about you.
What does Google know about you?
This is where it starts to sound like a sci-fi thriller. Depending on what you, or others, have shared online, Google may have tabs on your:
- Physical appearance and your voice
- Political and religious beliefs
- Children, if you have any
- Home, workplace, travel destinations
- Friends, hangout spots, conversation topics
- Favorite books, movies, games and stores
- Future plans for travel
- Future plans for your family
“Wait!” you may be yelling. “I didn’t agree to this!” Well, you probably did when you clicked “okay” on those terms of service. Think about those ads you click on, the ones that often seem like the perfect solution to your shopping wishes. Google tracks your clicks and navigations through the internet so they can better cater to your needs and wants. So, if you searched, “tourist spots in Thailand,” Google can suggest some hot spots for you to visit. Or if you scrolled through a list of items for a newborn, Google can provide ideas for the cutest spring-themed nursery.
While Google is trying to be able to better serve your individual needs, you might be uneasy knowing that the tech giant is aware of your future plans. Perhaps you’re a private person or perhaps it feels like you’re being spied on. Thankfully, there are some steps related to your privacy.
How can you “go dark” from Google?
You can protect your data in a variety of ways. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead of your browser. If you continue to use traditional browsing methods, use a different browser that isn’t owned by Google. Or you can use private browsing to make sure the websites you visit don’t appear in your browsing history or install cookies to track your visits.
Another good way to control your information is to delete your data from Google.
How can you delete your data from Google?
To delete your data, you must dig a little to find the right buttons. Here is an example of how to delete your online activity and keep Google from continuing to track you.
- Sign into your Google account and click “Data & Personalization” in the navigation bar.
- Scroll to “Activity Controls” and click “Web & App Activity.”
- To make Google stop tracking your web and image searches, browser history, map searches and Google Assistant interactions, uncheck both boxes.
- Click “Manage Activity” and either “Choose to delete automatically” or select “Delete activity by” in the navigation bar. You can choose how much data to delete, from one hour to all time.
- Just click “Delete” or “Confirm” and head back to “Manage Activity” to ensure that your data is gone.
It takes a few steps to get rid of your tracked data, but once you’ve done it, you can breathe a bit easier. You can also delete your location and YouTube history, as well as check into other areas of security to see what Google has on you.
If you think all this data deletion sounds like a hassle, we agree. That’s why IDShield has identity theft specialists ready to help you when you don’t know where to start. We walk members through each step and answer any identity or data-related questions you have. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to protect your data. We can help you navigate the many privacy concerns that appear online.
Get help from the professionals.
For more tips and guidance on how to further protect your personal data from identity thieves, IDShield offers one-on-one consultation to ensure your private information remains private. IDShield, your all-inclusive solution to identity protection, monitoring, and restoration, now brings you enhanced privacy and reputation management consultation.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see www.idshield.com. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice or assistance. If you are a LegalShield member, you should contact your Provider Law Firm.
IDShield Can Help Ensure that Your Private Information Remains Private