If you are like me, you may have simply ignored the little note in the top of your Gmail account saying that Google is updating it’s privacy policy.  Well, it’s time to stop ignoring the alert and take notice of what that means for YOU!

As of tomorrow, March 1st, Google’s new privacy policy will take effect.  So, what’s the big deal?  The reason people are uncomfortable with the changes, is the new policy allows Google to automatically gather information about you, such as the sites you visit, search queries, your age, gender and location-all of which is then added to your online identity.  Opting out of the google privacy policy means abandoning Google-which I’m not ready to do (we are google gals at heart and LOVE so many of the google tools, that I can’t even begin to imagine a Google-less world!) or you can simply take away the option for Google to link your personal information with your browsing history.

What can be found out about you from your browsing history? The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that fights for freedoms in the digital world, states that your web browsing history “can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more.”  This information can then be combined with other information they have gathered, and I for one enjoy keeping some things private.

So, what CAN you do? It’s pretty simple-you can erase your browsing history.  By deleting your web browsing history, including the sites that you have visited or the searches you have made, you can prevent Google from associating your web browsing with your Gmail or YouTube accounts.

How to delete your web browsing history in Gmail:
  1. Go to Google.com and log into your account
  2. Click the drop down menu next to your name (this will be in the upper right hand corner of your screen)
  3. Click “Account Settings”
  4. Scroll down until you see “Services Section”
  5. Under “Services”, and next to the sub section that reads “View, enable, disable web history”, click on the link “Go to web history”
  6. Click on “Remove all Web History”

This will bring up the message “Web History is paused”, which means Google will make all your browsing habits anonymous and no longer associate them with YOUR online accounts which is a step in the right direction, but please note that they will still be collecting the information.

Next, I suggest you go in and do the same for your YouTube account.   You should still be logged into google, so these are steps making that assumption.

How to delete your browsing and search history in YouTube:

  1. Click on “Products” on the left hand column
  2. Scroll down until you see “YouTube” and click on the icon
  3. Click the drop down menu next to your name (this will be in the upper right hand corner of your screen)
  4. Click on “Video Manager”
  5. Click on “History”
  6. Click on “Clear all viewing history”
  7. Click on “Pause viewing history”
  8. Click on “Search History”
  9. Click on “Clear all search history”
  10. Click on Pause search history”

Remember you will have to do this for ALL Gmail accounts and YouTube accounts – you’ll  be an expert by the time you get done updating everything, but it’s totally worth it to provide a little privacy!

Be sure you share this with friends, family and colleagues!

4 Comments

  • Wow, I did not know that this is what the new privacy policy was about.

    Thanks for the how-to Kelly. You Wild Web Women come up with the great and timely info!

    Calla Gold

  • Thanks for the tip, Kelly. I may actually be in good shape. I went to the section on my Google account, as you described. However, it seems that my history hasn’t even been enabled. Instead of “Remove All Web History,” I see two choices: “Turn Web History On” and “No Thanks.” Think I’ll just click “No Thanks,” based on your article.

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