Deleting your Google web history and starting fresh
SINCE 1 March 2012, it has been easier than ever for online advertisers to target web users, thanks to Google. People are still showing concern over Google’s updated ‘private policy’ and rightfully so. Apart from debates about privacy, the simple fact is that the majority of Internet users are not experienced webmasters who know how to control and customise their privacy options.
For those rare occasions when we don’t just want to buy random crap off the Internet, it becomes really irritating and intrusive to be constantly bombarded by adverts. A while back I spent a few hours going through all my Google accounts and finding information from my teenaged years and experimental student days. Any “likes” or “interests” that you may have added somewhere in the webesphere could soon be used to load the cannons of consumerism and bombard you.
If you use Google, you may want to read this is a good article to read (published at The Age dot com) if you haven’t a clue what this is all about. But what follows are a few useful places to start if you wish to clean out some of your data and baggage before Google gets a firmer hold on it.
Clearing your Google Search History:
(the info below also appears on The Age dot com):
- Go to the Google History page and sign in.
- Click “Remove All Web History” then “Okay” to confirm.
- If your Web History has been activated, you should see a button which says: “Remove All Web History”. Then click “Okay” to confirm.
- Your Google Search History should be turned on by default. You can always click “Resume” if you decide to turn this feature back on.
For more control over your various Google accounts that you may or may not have, try these:
- Google Dashboard: Here you can control the data associated with your Google Account.
- Ads Preferences Manager: Here you can make changes to the ads you see, including blocking specific advertisers or opting-out of seeing personalised ads completely.
- Eject button: If you decide you want to opt out altogether, Google provides a one stop shop to opt out of everything and take your “data dandruff” with you completely.
There is also a useful plugin for Firefox and Chrome called Adblock Plus, which does as the name suggests: blocks ads.
A final website I came across almost by accident is the Network Advertising Initiative. An article published here called Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising gives on a status on which advertising groups you have received cookies from over the years. There is a really useful “Opt-out from all” option here, which lets you remove most, if not all, of these.
And before any of you haters start bashing out comments, understand that this is not about “having something to hide” or about having embarrassing info leaked all over the web; it’s a much more complicated issue around privacy and how we are treated as Internet users.