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How to find out the many things Google knows about you

With all the recent discussion surrounding the NSA surveillance programs, it’s shockingly easy to forget that Google often knows an awful lot about more than 1 billion users across the globe. Google know what you search for, the videos you watch, music you listen to, and even the places you go. Google having access to this information doesn’t shock us given that we willingly provide this information to Google in exchange for their many free and useful services.

Still, even for thos of us who don’t mind Google accumulating and processing our personal info, there’s something alarming and creepy about seeing, in precise detail, everything Google know about you. Here’s how you can see all of the information Google has about you.

First, sign into your Google account and go to http://history.google.com/history and you’ll see a breakdown of how many searches you’ve done. There’s also a breakdown of which days of the week you use Google the most and which domains you click on the most following a Google search. Lastly, you can break down your search history across time, with “all-time,” “last month” and “last week.”

On the same website, in the upper right of the screen you’ll notice three vertical dots. Click the vertical dots and this opens the “Activity Controls” pane. Select “Show More Controls” after which you will see a list of all the places you’ve been, the voice searches and commands you’ve given, videos you’ve both watched and viewed on YouTube.

If you’re wary about Google storing this information, you can toggle the tracking settings for each metric on and off. They are enabled by default so if you’ve never switched them off, they are enabled.

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