Have you finally woken up to the fact that you need more privacy online? If you want to learn how to remove information from Google you have probably realized just how much data is being collected about you. This data includes your web search history, voice search history, what websites you visited, and what advertisements you’ve clicked on. In short, Google has collected …everything about you online, and offline is their next target.
Google is not the only online entity collecting information from you either. There are a number of online businesses who make it their business to track you online. All of this information could then be accessed by potential employers, and governmental agencies. We’ve all did dumb things when we were younger. Now it’s time to take responsibility to remove this information from Google, and other online sources.
How you can remove information from Google
The 3 critical groups of information they store
Google stores most of the information they have about you in three separate groups:
- Your search history
- Your voice and audio activity
- Your location history
Each of these data groups are located in different parts of Google’s storage of information about you. You need to make sure that you keep track of each one, because each one has different risks associated with it if you allow it to be stored.
Deleting Google search history
This is probably the largest collection of data which Google has about you. It can also be some of the most damaging, or embarrassing, depending upon what you get up to at 3 in the morning when you should’ve gone to bed.
To delete your Google search history you simply have to:
- Go to Google’s My Activity page.
- You can scroll down and delete individual pieces of information.
- You can also choose to click on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
- Click on ‘Delete activity by.’
- Selector the date range of activity which you wish to delete.
This is a relatively simple way to remove information from Google, and covers the basics of what they store about to you.
After removing the information you can head to the Activity Control page to stop them from tracking you in the first place. Just move the toggle to off, and they will stop tracking your searches.
This is what mine looks like, it’s always off.
Remove Google’s location tracking
Perhaps the most dangerous information that Google stores about you is your location information. A determined stalker could find their way into this and discover things about your daily habits:
- Where you live
- Your workplace
- Places you hang out
It doesn’t take an online security expert to guess that this information is important. Google likes to use it so they can serve you better ads, but what good does that really do you? Follow these steps to remove information from Google’s location tracking:
- Head to the Timeline page.
- Look down in the bottom right hand corner for the gear icon.
- Click on it and select ‘Delete all Location History.’
- There will be a pop-up which asks you if you want to delete it, select that you want to delete it.
- Push the text which turns red to finally delete the information from Google.
Here is what that last window looks like:
The other step that you can take to prevent location tracking services from following you is to install a VPN service. A reliable VPN will connect you to a server in another city, or another country if you want, throwing off anyone who is trying to track your location. Keep in mind that this is effective when you are connecting through Internet connections.
Deleting your Google voice activity
You may not realize this, but all of your voice searches are recorded. You can actually go into your Voice and Audio activity page and listen to all of your old voice searches. Yes, it’s usually very painful regardless of what you’re actually searching for…
Here is how to delete your voice search information from Google:
- Head to the Voice and Audio Section of your My Activity page.
- You can remove information individually as you scroll down.
- Or you can push on the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner.
- Select ‘Delete activity by.’
- Choose a date range of which activity you want to delete.
You may want to no longer connect to your devices which you use voice search for to your main Google account. You can create another account to do this with, that’s what I do.
Remove information from other sources using Google’s OAuth protocol
Google’s OAuth protocol is an open standard tool for authorization. Internet users will use it to log into third-party websites without having to expose their passwords. You see these pop-ups all over the place as it is an alternative to entering new login details and creating a password.
Connecting all of these different websites will, of course, create another large collection of data points about you.
A tool which has been created specifically to help you get out of this Google OAuth protocol problem is called Deseat.Me. It allows people to remove information from sources which use this protocol in about an hour or so. Sources include:
- Buffer app
And about another dozen online platforms which collect data about you through Google’s OAuth protocol.
Here is how to use it to remove information from these online platforms:
- Sign in with the Google account whose associated information you wish to delete.
- Allow Deseat.Me to collect all of the associated accounts.
- Select the accounts that you wish to delete.
- This process may take quite a bit of time depending upon how many accounts you have associated with the Google accounts you have given it.
Keep in mind that this cannot delete photos of you that are on other people’s pages, videos about you that are on other people’s accounts, or other things like that. This can only delete your account itself, and the content on it.
You should also remember that it can only do this for accounts which are associated with the Gmail account which you have entered. You will have to delete information from other platforms in another manner.
Remove information from Google, and others
Once you remove this information from Google using the tactics above, and then remove more information using Deseat.me, you will have removed a considerable amount of your online data. You’ll be experiencing more online privacy, and you will be better protecting your information online.
Be sure to stay signed into a VPN with a reliable client. This will encrypt your communications, offering further privacy online. It’ll also eliminate a considerable amount of location-based data gathering, both recorded and in real-time.