About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 25, 2014

Stop Watching Me or Not!

Jamie wrote to me and was horribly upset that Google has been tracking her online activities. She wanted to know first, if that is true and next, if so how to stop it.

image Well, yes it is true under certain circumstances. First, you must be logged into your Google/Gmail account when you are searching. Then it will keep an extremely accurate history of what you have been looking for using Google. It even breaks it down into categories like, Images, Web sites, News, Shopping Maps, Videos, Books, etc. just to name a few.

If you want to see your browsing history go to Google’s History for your account ( and see what they “have” on you. If you have never gone here before and did not know it existed, you may be shocked. You will start with the “All History” but look at the menu on the left and click to be more specific.

OK, if that bothers you, you can delete all of your previous history and stop it from gathering any in the future. While at your history page look at “All History” click the small checkbox at the top and then click “Remove items” directly beside the checkbox. You may have to perform this a numerous times but when finished your history is gone. Now, to the right of center, to the right of “Only you can see your history” click the gear icon and choose “Settings.” Now click, “Turn off” and you are safe to surf unwatched.

The next thing you could do is do not sign into Google; however, if you use Gmail that will be counterproductive. Probably not worth the hassle of logging in and out multiple times a day.

Next, you can use “safe” search engines. All of the biggies, Yahoo, Bing, etc. track you just like Google; however, there are others that do not. The one that appears to be the most popular is, sounds silly but it is a good search engine. There is lots of info on their site about how it works, filter bubbles, etc. that could make some interesting reading for you. Check it out. Two others, owned by the same company are, which uses the big engines including Google. The other is which only pulls from Google in case you love Google searches. Both of these operate anonymously. Any of these are good, but I like the first one I mentioned, just for the name.

Next to defeat this madness just do not agonize over it and let it track you. Unless you are looking for ways to build bombs, taking over small countries, researching poisons for your fiction novel, etc. no one cares for what you are searching.

Your internet service provider has records of everywhere you have gone online. The US Government, in cases of illegal activity, can get your internet history from your service provider. The time your history is retained is currently up to the service provider. For the major providers it runs anywhere from six months to two years…their choice.

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