Don't Let Google's Privacy Policy Out You: Clear Your Web History Before March 1st

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Gizmodo's got a helpful guide out today that steers Google users through the steps to remove your search history. You might be wondering why cleaning out your Web History is worth considering/doing right now but, lest you forget, Google's new and dubious Privacy Policy jumps into action next Thursday, March 1, at which point all content in your Web History will be linked with your personal Google Accounts (Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, etc.).

In the interest of safeguarding your integrity (in your Google life and your real life), Gizmodo details how to not only clear out your browsing history but also turn off the Web History feature so Google won't be keeping a record of where you go on the internet:

  • Step 1: Assuming you are already signed into your Google account (if not, do that first), direct your browser to Google Web History. You may be prompted to enter your password before proceeding. If so, go ahead and do that.
  • Step 2: Once you're in Web History, you'll see all of the search content Google's amassed from you. Atop the page, you'll also see text that either says, "Web History is on," or "Web History is off." If you fall into the latter group, your work here is done. Good job - Google's got nothing on you. If your Web History is on, sally forth onto the next step.
  • Step 3: If your Web History is on, click on the button that says, "Remove all Web History." Of course, Google will second guess you and present you with the message, "Are you sure you want to clear your entire web history? Your web history will also be paused," after you click the button. Indeed, Click 'OK.'
  • Step 3: You may be prompted to re-enter your password; if so, enter it and proceed accordingly. If not, all the better for you. At any rate, you should be back at your Web History page and you should see a message that reads, "Your search history is currently empty." If you see that, then - success!

    While on this page, note the message, "Web History is paused." You will see an option to Resume, but stay away from that.

  • After that, exhale with relief that your browsing history is deleted and Google won't be cross-sharing any future browsing information with your Google accounts.

    I mentioned above that if upon your initial visit to the Web History page you were greeted with the message, "Web History is Paused," you have no search history to delete so you should be okay.

    One last but very important note: Gizmodo says that this still doesn't prevent Google from gathering and using your information for internal purposes, nor does it prevent Google from handing it over to law enforcement should it be requested. Nonetheless, assuming you're not a fugitive from justice, these steps will at least keep Google from inadvertently exposing your search history through your Google accounts. The last thing you want is for your innocent image search for "ultimate nudity" to end up populating your Google Accounts for all to see.

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