Earlier this year, Google introduced a feature that lets you download all of your search history for keeps. Seems pretty handy, right?
But let’s think on this seemingly handy option for a moment. Cast your mind back to everything you’ve ever searched for online. Sure, that hilarious lip sync battle video will come up, as will some recipes and workout moves, but it also includes addresses you’ve searched for in Google Maps (including your home address), private emails you’ve searched for in your Gmail account and basically every single thing you’ve ever looked for via any of Google’s products.
Feeling nervous yet? Google is. Which is why they give you a whole series of warnings before you actually go through with downloading your search history, as per below.
Even if you do manage to download everything on your personal computer, what’s the point? As Sean Hollister from Gizmodo points out: “Are you really planning to reminisce someday by digging through an avalanche of queries? Or do you think you'll need an alibi for a crime? I suppose there are worse things sitting on my computer, but they're not quite the same clearly marked treasure trove of insight into my entire life.”
If you’re still feeling nervous, there’s an easy fix. Just delete all that data! Sure, you’ll miss out on some "enhanced search results," as Hollister mentions, but it’s better to play it safe.
All you’ve got to do is select your Web & Activity page, check off what you want to delete, then select "Remove Items" from the top right drop-down menu.
Alternatively, if you prefer to not have Google track your every move, you can pause it in your Account History.