Google My Activity: What It Is and How to Use It

June 18, 2024 • April Miller

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Google My Activity is a powerful tool that lets you see and adjust the data Google has about your activity on their platforms. This can include everything from search history to the YouTube videos you’ve watched.

It’s important to understand what this data includes and how to delete it if needed, as well as the benefits of using Google My Activity.

What Is Google My Activity?

When you use Google services, you generate data that Google collects and saves in your Google account. The data includes everything from the websites you visit to the searches you make. Google My Activity is a hub where you can access and manage this data.

Google collects this information for a few reasons. This way, it better understands what interests users and what people are looking for for so it can make its services more relevant. Tracking user behavior also helps Google comply with legal requirements and protect users from fraud and abuse.

Meeting Data Compliance Requirements

Google is required to comply with a number of legal requirements to protect user data. This includes:

  • EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): The GDPR is a regulation in the European Union that strengthens and builds on the EU’s current data protection laws. It gives individuals more control over their personal data and requires companies to be more transparent about how they’re using this data.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): The CCPA is a law in California that gives residents of the state more control over their personal data. This law is similar to the GDPR, but also includes specific provisions for children’s data and for businesses that collect data from consumers online.

What Can You Adjust Within Google My Activity?

One of the best features of this platform is its focus on privacy — you have control over which activities Google stores and which it doesn’t. You can enable or disable tracking for ‘Web & App Activity,’ ‘Timeline’ and ‘YouTube History’ at any time.

Can you delete your My Activity history? You can adjust what information your My Activity history saves, and you can also delete your activity history at any time. Deleting your history will not delete the data already saved in Google’s servers.

How to Check Your Activity Page

The steps for accessing the My Activity page are the same for PC, Android and iPhone. Log into your Google account and select the ‘Google Apps’ icon to the left of your profile picture. Select ‘Account’ and then ‘Data & privacy.’ You will find ‘My Activity’ under the ‘History settings’ section.

Here, you can view your online activity, including your search history, voice search, location, app history, map routes and videos watched. You can also filter your results by date, search for specific actions or delete items.

How to Delete Information From My Activity History

Deleting your history is a straightforward process. To delete your history:

  • Go to google.com/myactivity.
  • Click on ‘Delete activity by’ in the menu on the left.
  • Select the time period you want to delete and click ‘Delete.’

By selecting ‘Delete activity by,’ you can choose whether you want to delete data from the last hour or day. You can also delete all of your My Activity history by selecting ‘All time’ and confirming your choice. Hit ‘Custom range’ to delete something within a specific timeframe.

You can also delete your history on an individual basis by going to google.com/myactivity and clicking the ‘Activity controls’ tab. Under ‘Web & App Activity’, click ‘Manage history’ and select the time period you want to delete. Click ‘Delete’ and confirm your choice.

This platform goes back to 2016, meaning you can review your My Activity history from this period and earlier. If you want to delete data from before 2016, you’ll need to do so manually by going to the My Activity page and deleting it from the controls tab.

What Benefits Does This Activity Data Offer?

Tracking My Google Activity offers a number of benefits, including the ability to see the data Google collects about you and the option to delete it if you need. It’s also a good way to keep track of your online activity and ensure the platform respects your privacy.

However, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t offer 100% protection from data collection. If you’re concerned about your privacy, be sure to read up on how Google collects and uses data. You can also take steps to protect your privacy by using a virtual private network (VPN) or disabling cookies in your browser settings.

How to Preserve Your Privacy With Google My Activity

When you’re using the platform, there are a few settings you may want to disable to ensure your privacy, including:

  • Your activity history.
  • Web and app activity.
  • Location history.
  • Device information.
  • Voice and audio activity.

This platform is not a perfect solution. However, it’s a good tool to use in conjunction with other privacy-protecting measures since keeping them enabled allows third-party advertisers to see more of your information. However, adjusting your ad privacy settings is a more permanent solution.

FAQs

If you still have questions, then browsing the frequently asked questions might clarify things:

Can Anyone See My Google Activity?

Google, your internet service provider and some advertisers can see your My Activity history, including the websites you visit, YouTube videos you watch and queries you search. Anyone who has a device logged into your Google account can also view it.

How Do I Hide My Google Activity?

You can select ‘Manage My Activity Verification’ and enable ‘Extra Verification’ to prevent others from viewing your history. Google will make sure it’s really you before allowing access. Your browsing and location history might show up in other apps or services, though.

What Happens if I Delete My Google Activity?

Erasing all of your history prevents Google from personalizing advertisements and improving features like autocomplete or recommendations. However, it does not prevent Google from tracking what you do online — you have to disable the platform for that.

Is Google My Activity Safe?

Google My Activity is safe to use since it uses encryption technology like Transport Layer Security and HTTPS to secure all information sent between you and its website. Also, it does not share information that personally identifies you.

Does Google Sell My Activity Data?

Google promises it won’t sell your data, but it does share those details with advertisers and it may monetize your data profile — that’s how it makes ads more relevant to you. If you allow Google to share personally identifiable information like your name and location, it will.

Should I Turn off Google Activity?

This platform provides a convenient way to track your online activity. However, some consider it intrusive. Keeping it enabled is your choice, but it may affect your privacy. To disable it, head to the My Activity page and turn off ‘Web & App Activity,’ ‘Timeline’ and ‘YouTube History.’

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