Online data protection and privacy is a hot topic these days. As we spend more time searching and sharing our actions and information is open to tracking by third parties and exposure to prying eyes. Unless you’re willing to do a 100% unplug from all things digital (nearly impossible these days) you may be putting your personal data at risk.
Whether you’re searching for personal healthcare assistance or looking up investment advice, there are some searches that you want to keep private. Not only does tracked search feel invasive, but the addition of personalized ad serves compound the unsettling feeling of being watched by someone, or something else.
Below are some suggested measures that you can take to delete search history from engines and social media, along with how to opt out of tracked search.
How to delete search history from Google
If you’re signed into Gmail (or any other Google-related service) and you make a search query using Google your search will be tracked. Why is search tracked? It enables Google to present your with better future search results (not to mention more ads). For example, if you mostly tend to search for music and rock bands when you look for Arctic Monkeys Google will show you the English quartet, not factoids about bushy primates.
To remove searches from your Google profile click on Google Web History and check the Remove Items box. You can also opt-out of tracked search from this screen too. Click the gear icon in the top right corner of your browser, select Settings and Turn Off search history.
Remove searches from Facebook
Facebook is a great way to stay connected to friends and family, but it also has a creepy side that you might not be aware of. The social media platform stores ALL of your searches queries. That’s right. All of them. If you’ve looked for a business, an ex-flame or neighborhood lunch spots Facebook has kept a running log.
To get rid of your Facebook searches head on over to your profile page from your desktop (mobile app versions of Facebook don’t have full site features enabled) and look for View Activity Log button on your profile’s cover photo. Click and you’ll be presented with everything you’ve ever liked, clicked, commented or searched for on Facebook.
Look on the left side menu and under Photos, Likes and Comments click More to expand the list. Near the bottom is the Search option. Click and you’ll be presented with all of the searches you’ve ever conducted. You can elect to remove all of them by clicking Clear Searches at the top of the screen, or remove individually by selecting the ‘block icon’ and selecting delete.
Purge search history from Yahoo
Yahoo search removal is pretty straightforward, however, you can’t remove past searches you can only prevent future searches from being tracked. Not ideal, but that’s the way they’ve rigged it.
Visit Yahoo’s Search Preferences and under Keep Search History set the dropdown to Search History Off. Done-zo.
Get rid of search on Bing
Unlike its search engine counterpart above, Bing allows you to kill all previous search history and eliminate future search tracking too. Head over to Bing Search History and from there you can wipe out all search and turn off logging too.
There you have it. Turn off search tracking and clear your search history to help with privacy protection.