Android is Google’s platform and, for better or worse, that means Google has a special place on our phone. While there are a huge number of devices or manufacturers out there, one thing that almost all of them have in common is the fact that they rely on Google’s services, like Gmail, YouTube or Google Now. This is a good thing for most users, since these services are so important, but one thing that you may not realize is that Google collects information on all of these aspects, including keeping a list of almost every search, location or activity you do on your device. Today, we’re showing you how to edit and delete this data, including your Google searches.
As we mentioned, Google gathers and collects all of this information. This is not exactly a secret, since it asks you if you’re okay with that collection beforehand, but you may still be surprised with just how much data it has. Not only that, but it can accidentally lead to embarrassing situations. For example, did you know that your Google searches, made on your computer, can show up on Google Now? Here’s an example:
Just open Google Now, and you’ll see the familiar interface. Of course, you expect Google Now to collect the searches you make using the app, but if you click the search bar, depending on your settings, you will find that these are searches you made on another device. For example, using Chrome on your computer:
This is because Google links this information to your Google account, so it can offer you better suggestions and more reliable information. However, this can easily backfire – for example, let’s say you were shopping for a present for one of your friends. Then, he asks you if he can use your phone for a quick Google search, and as they tap on the search bar, they will see your previous searches, including the things you were considering as a present. Not good. However, there is a way to avoid this – simply tap and hold over one of the searches in your history and you will be able to delete it directly:
Just accept, and the search will be removed and replaced with a previous one. Of course, this is an easy way to clean up your history, but it’s not exactly reliable or practical. If you have a large string of undesirable results, it could take a while. Luckily, there’s a better way to clear this – by directly deleting your history. Previously, we mentioned how Google collects some of your activity. However, what you might not now is that you can view and edit all of that information. Just head over to Google’s My Activity by clicking this link, and you’ll be able to see all of this data:
As we mentioned, you may be surprised at just how much information is collected, but what we’re here for is to delete some of it. Google makes this pretty easy. One the sidebar, click over “Delete activity by” and you should see a screen like this:
Here, you can define exactly what information you’d like to delete. In our case in particular, we’d like to clear our Google searches, so on the dropdown menu, pick “Search”:
Press the “Delete” button, and you’ll be asked to confirm. You should see a confirmation appear. Now, just head over to your Google Now app, and look at he search history – you’ll see that the searches from the period your specified are no longer used as suggestions:
And, if you want to get rid of this feature entirely, you can just head over to My Activity and pick “Activity Controls” on the sidebar to toggle some of this information collection on or off:
That’s about it for today’s lesson, where we have shown you how to clear your Google history and suggestions. As you can see, Google has quite a bit of information on things like your searches, locations and even app usage. While all of this is done with your consent, and all of the information is displayed for you as well, it can be kind of overwhelming at times and result in privacy issues for you down the line. This might be a good time to consider if having this information around is valuable to you or not. Any questions or doubts? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!