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This is Part 2 of a 3 part series.
In Part 1 we talked about How to find out what private information Google considers ‘public’, and How to take a look at Google’s record of your online activity.
The company records every search you perform and every YouTube video you watch. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, Google Maps logs everywhere you go, the route you use to get there and how long you stay — even if you never open the app. When you look closer at everything Google knows about you, the results can be eye-opening, and maybe even a little unsettling. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it.
In Part 2 we will cover How to access Google’s record of your location history.
Perhaps even more off-putting than Google knowing what recipes you’ve been cooking, what vacation destination you’re interested in or how often you check the Powerball numbers, the precision of Google’s record of your whereabouts can be downright chilling, even if you never do anything you shouldn’t.
If you’re signed into Google Maps on a mobile device, Google’s eyes are watching your every move. It’s about enough to make you want to leave your phone at home. Thankfully, that’s unnecessary. Here’s how to access, manage and delete your Google location data:
- Sign into your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.
- To see a list of all your location data that Google has logged, scroll to Activity controls and select Location History.
- If you want Google to stop tracking your location, turn off the toggle on this page.
- To set Google to automatically delete this kind of data either never or every three or 18 months, select Auto-deletethen pick the time frame you feel most comfortable with. Google will delete any current data older than the time frame you specify. For example, if you choose three months, any information older than three months will be deleted immediately.
- Once you choose an Auto-delete setting, a popup will appear and ask you to confirm. Select Deleteor Confirm.
- Next, click Manage Activity. This page displays all the location information Google has collected on you as a timeline and a map, including places you’ve visited, the route you took there and back, as well as frequency and dates of visits.
- To permanently delete all location history, click on the trash can icon in the lower right corner and choose Delete Location History when prompted. To delete individual trips, select a dot on the map or a bar on the timeline, then, on the next page, click the trash can icon beside the date of the trip you want to delete.
- To make sure your location data really disappeared, start over with Activity Controls in step 2, then after Manage Activity in step 4, make sure the timeline in the upper left corner is empty and there are no dots on the map indicating your previous locations.
In Part 3 we will discuss How to manage your YouTube viewing history.
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