Are you aware that Google tracks all of your searches and clicks on all of their properties (Google, Google+, YouTube, Maps, Picasa, etc.?)
It’s really rather fascinating to look at your own behavior, and I strongly recommend that you check it out at https://www.google.com/history
But to some, there’s a darker side to all of this, that the data Google stores (apparently indefinitely,) may someday end up hurting you, possibly in a way that we can’t predict at this time.
Here’s a video that shows what Google collects, how you can access it all, and how, if you wish, you can remove your past browsing history and keep them from storing that history in the future.
It’s worth watching, especially if you’ve ever searched for anything you may not wish to have others know about…
What do you think – does Google’s tracking and usage of this data constitute “evil?” Should they be allowed to continue to do so by default? Or is it all just fine? Tell me your opinion by writing a comment below. And don’t forget to Like and Tweet it!
If anyone is based in the UK and would like to know how to do something similar I created a video showing three simple steps, its a similar thing to the .com version
“…does Googleâ€™s tracking and usage of this data constitute â€œevil?â€
Simple answer: No.
…but obviously it all depends on what kind of activities and information you share. Just a bit of common sense is requiered while using online services. I’m not concerned at all.
what happens when you make a search on your cell phone?
is there a way to access it and permanently delete it? does your cell provider track everything aswell?
It must be made illegal. It violates US Constitution – Fourth Amendment – we have the right to be secure in our persons. How can we be secure in our persons when absolutely everything we do is recorded? Does Federal Government have the right to record our daily move we make in real life? No. Why should any private company be any different?
No. No. And no. No one can collect my browsing history. It belongs to me, me only and no one else.
Great video Don. I have been block all my search habilts for a long time. As an SEO here in Los Angeles, I really don’t want Google spying on what I am trying to rank. If I may suggest to all your followers, you should really clear your browser cache daily. Not just delete your temporary internet files, but go in and and do and hard delete of all your cookie files. You would be amazed at how many people think they have deleted their history and in fact, they didn’t.
Great video and share.
Does this pertain to general users without google accounts as well?
No, it shouldn’t.
I’ve watched enough episodes of CSI and other forensics-type shows to know not to venture anywhere online that could come back to haunt me. That’s what the library computers are for!
Seriously, I actually like having my Google history. It’s like a trip down memory lane, which can be helpful in a pinch for us oldsters – LOL!!
Thanks Don — valuable information here as always!
Thanks very much for putting this up. I hate the way these companies think they can walk all over our privacy. It is a nightmare!
I have turned mine off and I will make sure everyone I know is aware of this.
Don – I had no idea about this history. However, going through my own history, I found it to be really useful, especially finding websites I search for in the past, but just couldn’t fine them again.
I also found some things I would like to keep off my computer or out of my cookies, sites that spy on you like http://www.doubleclick.com and several others. No matter how often you clean your cookies, they seem to find there way back in.
Finally, I like the history, but I don’t think Google should be sharing it with the world, and especially “Big Brother”. Other than checking out some female movie stars or singers – to see what they really look like without all the makeup – I don’t think I have anything “yet”! – to be concerned abut that I need to remove all history.
In any case, that’s for the tip!
I honestly do not know what to make of your, “So, if this is bothering youâ€¦ maybe itâ€™s time to look in the mirror” comment.
You and I know that all of these great free tools (and they are great) are mostly paid for by paid search results. Targeted advertising. Right? I doubt if most of the people reading this blog do not have an AdWords account. So, in a way we have all benefited from Google tracking and will benefit in the future for Google tracking.
Would it be reasonable that most people would NOT be able to see what someone would do with tracking in the future? Is it reasonable with the history of the United States that what is legal to search for on Google right now might (might) not be legal in the future? or..if it is legal you can still be put on a watch list for some search term (Religion, Associations/Fraternities,legal drug use (ever searched for a drug you have been prescribed?), etc.). You can not see in to the future of what laws will look like going forward.
Most of us are in Internet Marketing and have seen huge changes in the way we can target customers and new information on how to target customers comes up every day. There is new information that we can buy from new sources each and every day. How much have Facebook advertising bids gone up since the platform was created?..a lot..Why?..because of the value to an advertiser to be able to use the granular segmenting..better conversions. There is a lot of value (money) to be made by tracking. I take advantage of the tracking by using AdWords and MSN.
Cisca..you just never know what someone will do with the tracking information in the future. It does not matter today what you think of your own squeaky clean history. Your searches can/will be tagged in some way to identify you and your activities no matter how wholesome they may be.
It just seems to me if you are an Internet Marketer that you would be MORE concerned about online privacy than most people, because most of us (me included) make money from tracking and have a better awareness of things being tracked then the general public.
I’m confused by your response. On the one hand you say you use the tracking programs available; on the other you raise the concern about privacy and legality. (Aside, ex post facto laws are prohibited by your Constitution and in most other civilized nations with Rule of Law.)
My point, perhaps not clearly enough made, is that if you are concerned about YOUR privacy, then it behooves you to care about the privacy of the people you track, unless you are comfortable being a hypocrite.
For the record (are you listening, too, Bill?), I am hugely concerned about my privacy, and yours. I am using an anonymous proxy to post this comment, mostly because I have to, being behind the Great Firewall of China where access to social media sites is blocked. That disturbs me, because I believe in free speech and I want to be the one to control and, be responsible for, MY actions, including protecting my own privacy to the extent I want.
Google has given us options, including not using their services. What can I say about someone who still prefers just to rant about their privacy (which means what, exactly?) but keeps feeding the machine? Where is personal responsibility in that picture?
What needs to happen as tracking tools become more sophisticated is the sane enactment of legislation requiring total transparency by the trackers and legal limits to uses of the collected information. Then let individuals CHOOSE. That is freedom.
Ranting about a Brave New World (or, even more absurd, harking back to old fascist states) is not a solution.
Well said, the most rational and reasoned point of view I’ve come across on the subject.
All this concern over privacy when the vast majority of people reading this must be marketers of one sort or another definitely raises a wry smile 😉
Hi What if we use bing, or yahoo search? I have 2 gmail accounts but have not set up an account up that I’m aware of. They are already know more than they need to.
Thanks for sharing this. Interesting information. Do you know if it only tracks these things when you are signed into your Google account?
Don’t know. My suspicion is that it’s logged whether you are or not, but only personally attributable to you if you are signed in.
They probably record your I.P. address and still record it, even if you’re not logged in.
Oh! My! Big Brother is HERE, ALIVE and WELL. I strongly object to the invasion of my privacy from Google or others. It is another example of the Big Brother mentality that permeates our leftest government leaders and big business. It’s another tool to control our behavior and deny us the FREEDOM that 10’s of thousands of AMERICAN soldiers have shed their blood on foreign shores to prevent this from occurring. It is an insult to their memory that we allow this GOVERNMENT and big business to snoop into our private lives. Please remember, THIS IS AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE. STAND UP, AND SHOUT OUT AGAINST THIS TYRANICAL BEHAVIOR.
Thank you for this information, Don. It made me pause to think about how I feel about information gathering in principle. My initial reaction, like those of many, is indeed, what are they doing to my privacy? But on further reflection…
1. All Google services are free. There are other options I can use if I don’t like the terms of service. I’m impressed that Google gave the option to CLEAR my web history.
2. Unless I DO something serious that puts me on Big Brother’s radar (whoever that might be), no one is going to have an interest in my online activities. I personally don’t do anything I’d be embarrassed about were it published or subpoenaed.
3. You and many (if not most) people on your list are engaged in social media as a business… and that involves metrics. What Google does is metrics. If you are using Google Analytics, for example, you are using the same tools as Google to do the same thing Google is doing.
So, if this is bothering you… maybe it’s time to look in the mirror.
It’s not particularly bothering me – I created this as a resource for others who are bothered by it…
I am concerned though that it someday may become public, which could have implications in other ways though.
Spoken like a true Citizen of the State, Cisca. Your government is proud of you. Sieg Heil!
Don, This sounds like G00GLE for sure. Actually I have started using a VPN in the idea that big brother is watching.
Without here getting into the seriousness of the matter in terms of individual rights, one point sounds contradictory: since will apparently remain – from March on – the existing possibilty to specifically select what to delete, isn’t that in itself a way to control what one will allow Google to “indefinitely” store?
Or is such option – already – only apparent…
Thanks for this info and any further clarifications!
Don Thank you very much for this heads up. It’s really interesting and I was completely unaware that this was in about to be put to use.
Really goods information.
Best wishes, Angi
I think there should be a “Do Not” list, like the “Do Not Call” list. Companies should be required to notify everyone and you would have the option to opt out with consequences to the company if they don’t comply.
Yes, I’m sick of my privacy being stomped on all the time and yes, I can hear the arguments from companies (and don’t want to). But this should satisfy everyone.
Really appreciate you shedding some light on this.
Don, thanks for that info. but I can’t find where the “Remove All Web History” is.
Thanks for the attention to this.
1. When I go to https://www.google.com/history, I am asked to “Turn web history on.” Did you skip mentioning this step or is this something else? I thought our histories were ON by default and that I would find a way to delete it, not start (initiate?) my history. Please help clear this up if you can.
Thanks for your help!
1. I assume that you turned it off at some point in the past.
2. Yes, it doesn’t surprise me that they keep a logged version. Hopefully that means that it’s not personally attributed, but it’s hard to tell.
I don’t know what really goes on at Google. So your guess is as good as mine!
Hi Don, Great video, as always! I went to check my history, and I guess that somehow I always have it turned off, because when I go to google.com/history, the screen it gives me says:
Web History makes search better
Your Web History includes searches you’ve done on Google and pages you’ve clicked in search results. Web History allows you to:See personalized search predictions as you type.
Get results and recommendations that are tailored to your preferences.
Search the full content of pages you’ve already seen.
You can view and edit your Web History from any computer by signing in to your Google Account. Learn more.
No thanks Turn Web History on
Does this mean that it is not recording all of my searches? Or does this mean that I just can’t play with the data? If it’s always been off, will it turn itself on on March 1st?
I’m assuming it’s off. Don’t know for sure though!
I want my privacy back!!! I am sick and tired of everybody knowing way too much about me and my actions!
Google is going WAY TOO FAR.
I went to Google’s history page, and it asked me to log in. I do not have a Google account, but use Google to search. How do I delete my search history–or is it a mute point?
If you really don’t have a Google account, than you likely don’t have an issue. Just make sure that you really don’t have one. If you have a gmail account, have ever uploaded a video to Youtube, or any number of other activities, you probably have an account. So you may want to check…
Well, I have uploaded a few YouTube videos, so I double checked. Sure enough–I do have an account. Only three searches were on the history (from 2008), though, so I think I’m safe. Thanks for the great info!
It should be illegal for Google to collect data upon us. Enough is enough, we should be able to put a stop to this madness.
Hi Don, thank you very much for this short video. I’m so glad that I could delete my search history.
@Larissa, I agree. This is evil. Of course this is very interesting for every internet marketer. But there is a clear line between what is right and wrong.
@Larissa, it sure should. This is the “Wild West” of internet marketing.
Thanks for the heads-up. I’m an author of oftentimes dark fantasy. I think that says enough about my search history, don’t you? ^_^
Yeah, you may want to block your history :<) Don
Thanks Don! And, a question: Can Google track your search history if you’re not logged into a Google account? Or do store it a different way?
Presumably no, but remember that they set cookies. If you’re concerned about this, have your browser kill your cookies every time you exit.