How to Delete Everything Google Secretly Records

Google is tracking a lot of what you do online | © FirmBee/Pixabay
Google is tracking a lot of what you do online | © FirmBee/Pixabay
Photo of Peter Ward
Tech Editor10 January 2018

Being part of a digitally advanced society has many benefits, but privacy is not one of them. One company in particular probably has more information about you than any other, so it’s worth knowing how to stop it tracking you. This company is, of course, Google.

Everyone knows that Google tracks some of your internet-related activities, but you may not quite know the extent of it. If you use Google’s voice services, for example, the company is actually recording and storing clips of your voice.

The good news is that these records aren’t locked away in a vault somewhere, and you can access and listen to them whenever you like. To check out your audio history here, go to the Voice and Audio Activity page. If you don’t like what you hear, you can delete them individually or all at once by going to More, Delete Options, Advanced. Each file has a transcript and an audio clip.

Google, of course, also saves all your search history. That’s a lot of personal information in the hands of an extremely large and influential company. To delete your record of searches, go to the History page, click on the three dots Menu button, and go to Advanced, All Time, Delete. That will take care of all of your old search data, but won’t stop Google collecting it in the future. To put a halt to all of Google’s search tracking, go to the Activity Controls page, and toggle the tracking button to off.

But Google’s tracking doesn’t stop there. The company is also following your every move in the real world, through location data. The location history, called the Timeline page, shows you a Google Map that tells you where you were at a specific time and date. The amount of data displayed depends on how much you carry around a device that’s signed up to a Google account, so it’s worth checking out. To delete all of this information, go to the Settings in the bottom right-hand corner of the page, and select Delete.

And finally, Google is continuously using all of your data to create an advertising profile of you. That decides which Google ads you’re more likely to see. To check out the profile Google has built about you, head to the Ads Settings page. Here you’ll see a list of activities that Google believes you’re interested in. On the same page there’s an option to turn off Ads Personalization, which will make the creepy ads that make you think you’re being stalked go away.