Google knows a lot more about you than you probably realize ‘ and it’s collecting more data every single day.
According to the Associated Press, the internet company already monitors online shopping but now has a new tool to track how much people spend in physical stores after clicking on digital ads.
To its credit, Google does provide ways for users to limit tracking and control ads.
Last year, Google debuted the My Activity page, a dashboard that gives a snapshot of the data Google has gathered from your online activities. It’s available at myactivity.google.com.
Things to know about Google’s My Activity page
When you get to the My Activity page, you’ll see a timeline of your activity across Google products, which can include websites you’ve searched and visited, as well as images and videos you’ve viewed.
Your current privacy settings will determine what exactly is displayed on your timeline.
Other Google activity
But wait, there’s more! Click on the menu icon in the upper left corner and select Other Google activity to find additional data Google has gathered.
For instance, location history will show all of the places you’ve been to while signed in to Google Maps.
How do I delete my activity?
Google provides several ways for you to delete your data from the My Activity page.
- By clicking on the three vertical dots next to each individual item, you’ll find the option to permanently delete it from your Google history.
- To delete by product or topic, use the search bar and again look for the three dots.
- To delete by date, click on the three vertical dots at the top of the screen and select Delete activity by. This also includes the option to delete data from “all time.”
Google says its data collection makes products more useful to you, so you might be prompted with this pop-up window when you go to delete activity.
To read more about how and why Google collects data, visit Google’s privacy page.
Limit data from being saved
Now that you’ve deleted the activity, you might be wondering how you can stop this data from being saved in the future.
Click on the menu icon in the upper left corner and select Activity controls to edit your preferences for the following categories:
- Web & app activity
- Location history
- Device information
- Voice & audio activity
- YouTube search history
- YouTube watch history
Finally, it might also be a good time to run Google’s Privacy Checkup tool to review your privacy settings and adjust them to your personal preferences.