I have been doing some research on Google lately and the more I do, the less inclined I am to support their business or trust them with my personal data. As such, I am systematically UnGoogling myself (as best I can). I imagine that I will always use their search engine but, I will not rely solely on it; especially when it comes to controversial issues. Other things that make me uncomfortable with Google are cited in the articles below but, that is only a partial list.
- Report: Google Dragonfly Links Phone Numbers to Search Results
- Top Google Scientist Quits Over Plan for Censored Chinese Search Engine
- Google sued for tracking you, even when ‘location history’ is off
- PragerU sues Google, YouTube for ‘censoring’ conservative videos
- Google is evil
But, I digress. I am carefully monitoring what Google and other big tech is doing with my data and zealously seeking alternatives for the sake of my personal privacy. But, that’s a blog post for a different day. For now, let me share this with you.
Google keeps a record of your activity on its platform. You can view your activity history by clicking here. (You will have to sign into your Google account.) Once there, click the “Delete activity by” link, as depicted by the arrow below.
On the “Delete activity by” link, I can delete activity on all products based on a custom date or by my entire history with Google.
Hmm… Before I click the delete button, I am more than a bit curious. So, I go back to the My Activity page and click the “Other Google Activity” link.
Once I am on the “Other Google Activity” page, I immediately notice the Location History section. Check out the “Visit Timeline” button.
I opted out of this data some time ago (for what good it did), so not much to see on my timeline. If I had not opted out of this, I would see everywhere I’ve been that Google was aware of. I suggest you check yourself out NOW, just to see even more how Google tracks you.
Okay, let’s go back to the “Other Google Activity” link and scroll down until I see the “Download your data from My Activity” section. From there, I click the “Download Your Data” link (as the arrow is pointing to).
Once on the “Download Your Data” page, I will have the option to choose which Google product data I want to archive. Once I make my selection, I click the “Next” button at the bottom of that page. (Not shown in the picture below.)
At this point, I’m basically done. I choose how I want to receive the archived data (.Zip or .TGZ) and wait for Google to email me a link to where I can download it. More than likely, I will download it to an external drive for later reference.
The data I am backing up includes my Gmail as well. Just in case you were curious. It saves it in a MBox format.
Are you keeping up with what Google (and other tech companies) are doing in terms of censorship and privacy (or lack thereof)? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Am I being paranoid? Or, not paranoid enough? #tinfoilhat