Stop Google from tracking your activities

Google's new My Activity page helps you regain control over your privacy.

This week Google launched My Activity to show you how you're tracked online, so you can better protect your privacy. Google readily admits that it tracks your every move -- your Web searches, site visits, watched videos, clicked ads, and location. The company claims it does so to autocomplete your searches, improve YouTube recommendations, serve ads, and get you places faster on Google Maps.

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If you're willing to sacrifice these expediencies for the sake of privacy, then you can delete items from your history or turn tracking off altogether. First, head to My Activity and sign in to your Google account to see just how much of your activity Google has already stored. Brace yourself for a shock.

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Delete your history

To delete your existing history, tap the menu button (the three vertical dots) attached to each item you want to erase and then tap Delete.

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Turn off tracking

To stop Google from tracking you, open the menu button up top, then Activity controls from the dropdown menu.

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There you'll find six sections: Web & App Activity, Location History, YouTube Search History, YouTube Watch History, Device Information, and Voice and Audio Activity. If you're an iPhone user, you'll only need toggle off the first four. But Android users may also want to switch off Device Information and Voice and Audio Activity, so that Google will no longer be able to store your mobile app info and voice, respectively, for improved results and suggestions and voice recognition.

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Another option is to control your privacy on a case-by-case basis by browsing in Incognito mode, which prevents Chrome from saving your surfing activity or a record of anything you've downloaded within that session.

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About Joshua Rotter

Joshua Rotter is a copy editor for Download.com and covers iOS.