5 Google Settings to update now to fix your privacy

5 Google Settings to update now to fix your privacy

Change your Google settings to keep your data and personal information private

by Leslie Pedder

Google and its many products are staples in your everyday life as you search on Google Chrome or type on Google Docs. These free products are great, but how much of your privacy is at stake and what can you do about it.  Answer to both, a lot.

Google platforms use consumer data to target ads. To be free of all personal data collection from Google may seem daunting but with these tips and tricks, you can set some limits on the information they collect across various Google platforms and tools.

Take Google’s Privacy Checkup for protection

Privacy can feel like a thing of the past with the amount of information shared and stored on your computer and mobile devices, but Google has made protecting yourself a little easier. Follow along with the steps below to add an extra layer of protection while online.

  • Open Google Chrome, any other web browser, your Gmail app, YouTube App, or any Google platform application to start this process.  Google has made this process extremely easy, making the instructions for your web browser and mobile device the same, so follow along to keep your data protected.
  • Locate the circular icon in the upper right-hand corner for your account (the icon will have the first letter of your Google Account in a colorful circle or be a picture you have assigned to your account.
  • Click the circular icon for your account in the top right corner.
  • Select ‘Manage your Google Account’.
  • Click ‘Data & privacy’ on the left-hand side of the screen.

    • In the ‘Data & privacy,’ you could be presented with two options depending on whether or not you’ve already set privacy settings.

 

How to take the Privacy Checkup

      • The first option will prompt you to take Google’s ‘Privacy Checkup’.

      • Here you select the blue highlighted ‘Take Privacy Checkup’.
      • In the ‘Privacy Checkup,’ you will have the option to ‘Review your key settings’.
      • Click the right arrow and go through each Google privacy settings suggestion and select the level of privacy that is best for you.

 

Privacy Suggestions Available

    • In ‘Data & privacy’ the second option that may be presented is ‘Privacy suggestion available’.

      • Click the blue highlighted ‘Review suggestions’.
      • Once you have clicked ‘Review suggestions’, you will be brought to your personalized ‘Privacy Checkup’.

 

      • Here you will be presented with privacy suggestions based on the Google services you most frequently use.
      • Complete your ‘Privacy Checkup’ by reviewing and reading each suggestion carefully to choose the proper level of protection for yourself.


Now following the Google provided privacy suggestion is only a small step in protecting yourself on their platforms. Below you will find detailed instructions on how to erase your data, stop data collection for your web searches, YouTube history, location data collection and so much more. Follow the different categories of protection to take control of your data.

 

How to delete saved Google history, locations, and activity

Let’s continue your protection by stopping Google from tracking your search history, views, and activity.

  • Once again select ‘Data & privacy’.
  • Scroll down to ‘Things you’ve done and places you’ve been’.
  • Here you will go through the ‘Web & App Activity,’ Location History,’ and YouTube History’.

How to turn off Web & App Activity

This function saves your activity on Google sites and apps. Turn this feature off to ensure Google is not saving all of your search information to create targeted ads.

  • Select ‘Web & App Activity’.

 

  • Here you will ‘Turn off’ this feature
    • Once ‘Turn off’ has been selected, Google will give a prompt that asks you to pause Google’s ability to collect data from your Google searches and app history.

  • Turning this feature off may limit or disable a personalized experience on Google platforms and tools, but this is a key step to keeping your data private.
  • You’ve turned this feature off but you will need to keep your information safe by deleting all previously saved data.

  • Click the blue highlighted ‘Delete old activity’. You will see the options to delete activity from ‘Last hour,’ ‘Last day,’ “All time’ and ‘Custom range’
  • Select ‘All time’ this will delete all data that has been saved by Google from your search and app history.
  • Click ‘Select All’ to erase all data saved across numerous Google platforms.
  • .Click the blue ‘Next’ button
  • Your previously saved information will appear on the screen, select the blue ‘Delete’ button.
    • Your activity will be permanently deleted from your account and no longer used for personalization

How to turn off Location History

This feature saves where you go with your devices, even when you are not using Google platforms. Turning this feature off will stop Google from targeting places to go based on your previous location and places searched in GoogleMaps.

  • Return to the ‘Data & privacy’ tab and find “Things you’ve done and places you’ve been’.
  • Select ‘Location History’.

  • Here you will ‘Turn off’ this feature.
  • Once ‘Turn off’ has been selected, Google will give a prompt that asks you to pause Google’s ability to collect data from your location.
  • Select the blue ‘Pause’ button.

  • Now that you have successfully turned off the Location data collection, select ‘See your Location History’.

  • Here you will be able to see that your previously saved data has now been erased.
  • Having this feature off will stop Google from saving the location your device has been, personalizing maps, and recommending places based on the locations you have searched or visited.

 

How to turn off YouTube History

This feature saves the YouTube videos you watch and search. This function is created to give better video recommendations and to assist with remembering where you were in a video if your browser or app closes. Turning this feature off will keep your YouTube views and searches private.

  • Return to the ‘Data & privacy’ tab and find ‘Things you’ve done and places you’ve been’.
  • Select ‘YouTube History’.

  • Here you will ‘Turn off’ this feature.
  • Once ‘Turn off’ has been selected, Google will give a prompt that asks you to pause Google’s ability to collect data from your location.
  • Select the blue ‘Pause’ button.

  • Turning this feature off may limit or disable a personalized experience. You may not see recommendations for content or creators based on videos you watch or your searches, but again this is a crucial step to keep your data private.
  • You’ve turned this feature off but you will need to keep your information safe by deleting all previously saved data.

  • Click the blue highlighted ‘Delete old activity’.
  • You will see the options to delete activity from ‘Last hour,’ ‘Last day,’ “All time’ and ‘Custom range’.
  • Select ‘All time’ this will delete all YouTube data that Google has saved.
  • Your previously saved videos and searches will appear on screen, select the blue ‘Delete’ button
    • Your activity will be permanently deleted from your account and no longer used for YouTube personalization

 

How to stop targeted ads

Have you ever searched for something on Google, then the next few websites you visit have ads for that item recently searched? Targeted ads can be very invasive. Follow the instructions below on how to stop target ads from your Google platforms and tools.

  • Open Google Chrome, any other web browser, your Gmail app, YouTube App, or any Google platform application to start this process.
    • Google has made this process extremely easy, making the instructions for your web browser and mobile device the same, so follow along to keep your data protected
  • Once you’ve opened your browser or app locate the circular icon for your account.
  • The icon will have the first letter of your Google Account in a colorful circle or be a picture you have assigned to your account. Click the circular icon for your account in the top right corner.
  • Select ‘Manage your Google Account’.
  • Once there click ‘Data & privacy’ on the left-hand side of the screen.
  • Scroll down to ‘Ad settings’.

  • Click the ‘Ad personalization’ arrow.

  • Locate the ‘Ad personalization is ON’ switch.
  • Select the blue switch and turn it off.

  • Select ‘Turn off’ in the bottom right corner.
  • Once this feature is selected you will still see ads on your web pages but they won’t be geared toward your interest.

  • You’ve successfully turned off ad personalization. As Google notes, it will take some time before the change is fully reflected across our systems.

 

How to stop my searches from being personalized

You’ve opened up Google to find information on a subject, but before you’ve even typed your full question in the search bar you are presented with numerous results attempting to finish your thought. These predicted results can be very helpful when searching quickly, but have you ever thought about how they are able to predict what you are going to type out. These predictions are made from Follow the instructions below to protect your personal information from Google results.

  • Click on your account icon in the right corner.
  • Select ‘Manage your Google Account’.
  • Once there click ‘Data & privacy’ on the left-hand side of the screen.
  • Scroll down to ‘Personal results in Search’.
  • Select the ‘On’ arrow to turn this feature off.

  • You will now see ‘Show personal results’.

  • Select the blue check mark toggle and turn this feature off.
  • Now you have successfully turned off this personalization function.

 

How to stop sharing your information with other users

Google products can hold extremely personal information, avoid this data collection and sharing of information by changing your settings. To limit the access others have to your personal information begin with your Google Profile.

  • Open Google Chrome, any other web browser, your Gmail app, YouTube App, or any Google platform application to start this process.
    • Google has made this process extremely easy, making the instructions for your web browser and mobile device the same, so follow along to keep your data protected
  • Once you’ve opened your browser or app locate the circular icon for your account.
  • The icon will have the first letter of your Google Account in a colorful circle.
  • Click the circular icon for your account in the top right corner.
  • Select ‘Manage your Google Account’.
  • Once there click ‘Data & privacy’ on the left-hand side of the screen where you will find settings to limit your information shared with others.
  • Scroll down to ‘Info you can share with others’.

  • Select Profile.
  • Here you will be presented with the option to allow ‘Only you’ or ‘Anyone’ to see your personal information like ‘Profile Picture,’ ‘Gender’ and ‘Birthday’

Let’s be honest, Google has great products that appeal to its users, so it makes sense that separating yourself from the tech giant might be a difficult task. Making changes to some of the Google features above is an important step to protecting your privacy while using Google platforms.

Google collects a lot of information while using its platforms to target ads.   So keep that in mind when using its platforms and tools. If you’re still worried about your privacy when using Google tools, start by using a more private search engine. Check out the best alternatives to Google.

More ways to take back your privacy:

 

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