Okay, so you probably know Google collects a ton of data on you.
You probably use Google Maps, Gmail and Android smartphone devices.
You also do most of your web search with the help of the Google search engine.
Not to mention, you may also use Google’s smart speakers.
That gives Google a lot of opportunities to know more about your streaming habits and probably everything else.
You also, most likely, do not need us to tell you that Google knows more about you then perhaps you know about yourself.
But the good thing about Google in all of this is that Google allows users to not only view all the data that the company has on them but it also allows them to delete that data if they so choose.
Now, in this guide, we will teach you how to find out what Google has on you and then how to delete all of your Google data one you find it.
It is no secret that as the years roll by, Google is trying very hard to position itself as a company that not only cares about people’s privacy but also is concerned about it.
Compared to a couple of years ago, Google has taken a lot of steps to be more privacy-conscious.
More specifically, one of the things that Google has done to make sure that people trust it is that it has made all the data that it has on them accessible.
As mentioned just now, Google has not only made that data available, it has also given the user the option of erasing that data.
In fact, if you look even more closely, you will find that Google has made the task of managing all of your data extremely easy.
The company has done that by placing all of the user’s data in one single place.
You do not need to request anyone for anything to see and edit your data.
Everything that you want to see from Google is present on your official Google account web page.
Now, once you have managed to sign in to your account, you should have no problems in seeing all the various different options and sections about your data and your profile.
There is also a list of each and every Google service that you have subscribed to.
If that was not enough then you can also view all the Google storage that you have used and storage that you have paid for.
There is also an option for you to see if you are sharing any of your storage with one or more of your family members.
If you didn’t know much about sharing before reading the last sentence then perhaps you should Google, Google One.
Let’s talk about a little bit about the basics that a technology company like Google definitely knows about the user.
First up, the user always gives the company some information when he/she signs up with Google by creating an account.
If you look at the left side of the screen now, you should see some text saying Personal Info.
Not only that, but you will also see your DOB or date of birth along with your full name and valid email address or email addresses.
Another example is your current phone number.
You will see that as well.
Now, what you need to do is to start the process of digging a little bit deeper.
Click on the link that says Data & Personalization on the menu that appears near the left-hand side of the screen.
When you click that you should have no problems in seeing a whole host of different features and sections there.
However, if you look pretty much at the uppermost region of the screen you should see a box which is labeled something like Activity Controls.
If you click on this link, it will take you to the place which holds the most amount of data which Google has stored on you.
Google will make the task of interpreting your data slightly easier by splitting all the data into a total of six major different sections.
Now, you have the option of clicking on any given section that you like in order to view a couple of more details on your data.
As mentioned before as well, if you want to then you can wipe a little or all of your data and any other record that Google might have logged on you.
If you want another screen that seems to cover anything and everything then what you need to do is click on Web & Activity link.
This is the place where you will find more information on the type of searches that you have done on the world wide web.
Of course, while looking at your data, you will have to make sure that you stay signed into your Google account.
From that point, we should also point out that the Web & App Activity page will only contain searches that you made while you had signed into your Google account.
It will also list out the pages that you may have visited in the past.
Apart from that, it will also let you know the Google Docs that you have opened up.
If you use an Android phone and have installed apps then Google will know about that as well.
With that said, Google still does not know what you do or what exactly happens in those Android apps.
Are you getting nervous?
Because Google also stores all the voice commands that you may have given to the company’s Google Assistant offering.
The list just goes on and one.
Anything and everything that a user may do while the user has logged in to his/her official account on any given Google Product (where it be Chrome, Android or any other app) gets to sit here and get logged.
Now, as far as the exact details of the user’s data that the previous screen shows vary slightly.
To take an example, if you have your Gmail searches (all of them) listed on the page you may or may not have the names of the people to whom you sent those email messages or received them.
If you look at your activity file a little bit closer, you will find that it will also tell you a great deal about what and when you made use different types of apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and/or Facebook.
However, it would not tell you anything about what you accomplished while you were using those apps.
Now, if we are talking about the Google Play Movies & TV-related data, then know that Google can show you all the TV Shows and movies that you may have watched through its platform.
If you, again, look right at the uppermost portion of the page you should have no problems in seeing filter options such as by product or by date.
The top bar also allows users to search for anything more specific.
To take an example, you can potentially search for a recent webpage that you may have visited and/or an application that you may have used in the past.
Now, if a given user is unable to deal with that and hates the fact that Google is collecting so much information on him/her, then he/she has the option of switching all of it off by simply cutting the flow.
How do you do that?
You do that by clicking the option that says Web and App Activity is on.
After that, you need to click the toggle to set it to off.
Of course, there will also be those users who never feel unhappy to have a company like Google continuously track them.
Google will tell you that it does that so that it provides users with faster searches along with much more personalized web experiences and better content recommendations.
The company also makes it clear that it does have the ability to provide users with all of that data.
On the other hand, if you do not feel comfortable with that then there is nothing stopping you from deleting various different individual items.
To do that just perform a click on the option that comes in the shape of three vertical dots on the side of a given entry.
After doing that, we want you to click on Delete.
Now, if you look slightly above the shown list, you should see a brand new feature brought to you by Google.
What we mean to say is that now Google has managed to roll out a brand new feature which allows users just like you to automatically delete their data after a time of their choosing.
Users can either set the feature to delete their data after three months or they can set the timer to 18 months.
This feature is perfect for those users who do not want Google to keep a record of their data on their servers for all times.
But that is not all.
Google has much more advanced and comprehensive wiping tools that allows users to access.
If you click the Delete Activity option which appears on the left-hand side you can easily delete each and everything that is logged in any given app.
If you want to delete all of your logged data for a given month then you can do that as well.
One of the other six major sections is that of Location History.
You probably do not need us to explain to you what this section is about as the name gives it away.
For the uninitiated, it keeps records of the user’s whereabouts over a period of time.
How does Google get this data?
It does not take a genius to figure out that Google actually pulls all of that data from the user’s devices that they have logged into and have also enabled location logging.
In order to put a stop to this type of tracking comprehensively, what you need to do is to turn off the main toggle for your location.
Just switch it off and you are done.
Now, what we want you to do is to click the option that says Manage Activity.
Once you do that, you should get to the correct Timeline that belongs to you.
The Timeline lists all the places that a given user has ever been to according to the data that Google has logged.
Users have the option of browsing this data by year, by date or by month.
If you go to the bottom of the given page, Google shows you a complete list of all the places that you have been to most frequently.
Some may find that borderline creepy but others feel they can use this data to figure out which is their favorite eating place or shopping mall.
Again, Google gives you the power to delete specific days, if you want to, from your Google record.
You can do that by simply going to the given day and then clicking the icon in the shape of a trash can.
If you want to completely erase a specific entry in your location data then you will have to perform a left click on the three dots icon which is beside the given day.
Then you should select the option that says Remove stop from day.
Now, if you are one of those users who want to delete each and everything in the absolute sense then you will have to click the button that says Timeline and appears in the top left corner of the screen.
The Timeline button will take you right back to the main overview menu.
When you get there you need to perform a left-click on the icon in the shape of a trash can in the bottom corner of the screen.
You can also click the icon in the shape of a cog that appears beside the trash icon and then click on Delete All Location History.
Our research shows that Google is currently in the process of rolling out the very same feature known as auto-delete to this section as well.
It will allow users to keep their data for free months or for 18 months before an automated wipe.
We have already mentioned that you have access to this feature in the Web & App Activity section as well.
At the time of writing this report, the feature had not been rolled out for most accounts.
So there is no way for anyone to say much about the new feature and how exactly does it work.
However, again, it is not hard to guess that the feature would simply be accessible as a selection from a nearby drop-down options menu.
Next up is the Voice and Audio Activity section.
As the name of the section suggests, this is the place where Google pretty much logs anything and everything that you have ever had the courage to say to your Google Assistant either via your smart speaker or your Android device and otherwise.
The cool thing about this section is that you can actually play back all of your recordings for your own viewing.
Pretty much like the previously-mentioned sections, the user has the option of pausing the Voice and Audio Activity category.
Once the user does that Google will not log any data.
The user can do that by turning off the switch for the master toggle.
From the same section, you also have the option of erasing single specific entries from your Google record.
To do that, all that you have to do is to click the three vertical dots icon just to the right side of the screen and then pick the option that says Delete.
When that is done, you should try to follow the link that says Delete Activity slightly on the left-hand side if you wish to wipe out pretty much all of your recordings which may be based on the Google product that you have used to record them.
You can also delete entries on the basis of date as usual.
To do that, simply select the date as All time.
This will essentially delete each and every one of your recordings.
The fourth category of the total number of six categories that we want to talk about is Device information.
As with the previous sections, this one is pretty much the same.
There is a master toggle switch if you want to pause this tracking.
Although, we should add that this section doesn’t have that much depth.
Because its only job is to log the device that the user makes use of to connect to his/her Google account.
You can remove individual entries by making use of the three dots icon slightly on the side.
Look on the left, choose Delete All if you want to wipe all of your records.
The last two of the six sections that we want to talk about are YouTube Watch History and YouTube Search History.
These usually cover anything that you have done on YouTube.
They take care of the searches you have made on YouTube and the videos that you have managed to watch on YouTube in your short lifespan.
The thing we find strange here is that Google has not merged these two sections.
There is a master toggle switch to pause Google’s data tracking.
You can also delete entries by using the available buttons on either side.
Select the Delete Activity option slightly to the left and you really can wipe everything.
One more important point
If you feel like it then you can actually download a copy of all of your data from each given category.
Of course, we are talking about the data that Google has one you while you were signed in to your account and doing something on the web.
After you have downloaded your copy, you may proceed to erase it.
In order to successfully do that, the user first has to make his way back to the screen that said Data & Personalization.
After doing that, you will have to select the option that says Download your data.
When that is done, we want you to follow the on-screen instructions in order to download your records from all or just some of the Google services that you may use.
As a matter of fact, if you look below that specific download option, Google provides you with a Delete A Service Or Your Account feature.
This is the feature that you would want to use if you want to remove a given Google service from your Google account.
Again, you also have the option of wiping the whole of your account from this screen.
When we say you can delete Google services, we are talking about the available Google services that the user can delete such as,
- Google Play
- Play Games
- Google One
Of course, no one really needs such services in order to properly run their Google account.
We’re not done. Not yet
Before we actually move towards the end of this guide, one other thing that you should give some attention to is the official Google Dashboard.
What does it do?
Well, it does nothing particularly new.
What it does is that it presents a ton of the same old information that you saw in the six categories above.
But it does that in a unique way.
In other words, it provides users with a complete list of each and every Google service and product that you may use or are connected to.
Furthermore, it also summarizes the way a given user has been using those services and products.
This page is especially useful for people who may want to know the number of emails which are present in their Gmail account.
In the end, we would like to end with this:
Use a VPN and hide all of your activity from everyone. Even Google.