Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 23:18 UTC, submitted by bowkota
Google So, the EFF has an article up on how to clear your search history at Google before the changes to the company's privacy policy takes effect. Most importantly, the hitherto sealed search hisory will now be shared with other Google services to provide better products advertising. Interestingly enough, when I got to the search history page, I saw this. Was this feature opt-in or something? Also, just to be safe, where do I go to delete or even just see the information associated with my Apple ID or my Live ID?
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Automatically turned on
by bowkota on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 23:23 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

When you create a Google Account, Web History is automatically turned on.


http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54068...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Automatically turned on
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 23:25 UTC in reply to "Automatically turned on"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Huh. Guess I turned it off at one point, then.

Guess I'm smarter than I look :/.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Automatically turned on
by bowkota on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Automatically turned on"
bowkota Member since:
2011-10-12

I forgot to mention though that it seems like this history is not completely erased.

As is common practice in the industry, Google also maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users. For example, we use this information to audit our ads systems, understand which features are most popular to users, improve the quality of our search results, and help us combat vulnerabilities such as denial of service attacks.


http://www.google.com/history/privacyfaq.html?hl=en

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Automatically turned on
by WorknMan on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 23:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Automatically turned on"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I forgot to mention though that it seems like this history is not completely erased.


You know, it's funny... you read horror stories about some cloud service undergoing a catastrophic failure and a bunch of users' data is lost. It's like we can't keep our data stored on the cloud reliably, unless it happens to be personal information that we want to have removed, and then we can't get it OFF the cloud ;)

It's like if they have our personal photos and stuff, they probably don't even bother to back that up, but if it's information that's valuable to marketers, I bet that'll survive a f**king nuclear holocaust.

Edited 2012-02-22 23:50 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Automatically turned on
by broken_symlink on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 23:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Automatically turned on"
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

Mine was off too. I don't remember ever disabling it. Maybe for accounts created before the web history feature launched it was never enabled.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Automatically turned on
by Beta on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 08:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Automatically turned on"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Huh. Guess I turned it off at one point, then.

Guess I'm smarter than I look :/.

Nah ;)
For older accounts, you had to opt‐in, as I remember many many years ago enabling it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Automatically turned on
by aargh on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 12:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Automatically turned on"
aargh Member since:
2009-10-12

I didn't verify this, but I think it's because you're not signed in with a Google account but with your email address instead (that's not a fully featured account).

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Automatically turned on
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 12:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Automatically turned on"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I didn't verify this, but I think it's because you're not signed in with a Google account but with your email address instead (that's not a fully featured account).


OSNews uses Google Apps. My OSNews address (thomholwerda@osnews.com) is a full Google account.

Reply Score: 1

Arnoud
Member since:
2010-06-16

When I'm logged in with my Google apps account it shows:

This service is not available

Web History is not available for [domain]. Learn more about Google products you can use with [my email address].

If you are the Google Apps administrator, please read these articles to learn more about controlling user access to Google Apps services and turning services on/off for certain users.

Did you use this product with a different Google Account? Sign out of your current Google Account and then sign in to the account you want.


I don't see any way to turn it on either, not that I want to, Google search results are already a bit too smart in my opinion for technically skilled persons - interpreting what I wanted to search instead of just searching what I typed.

Reply Score: 2

i get this
by Mellin on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 01:59 UTC
Mellin
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Your search history is currently empty."

Reply Score: 2

Idiot?
by dorin.lazar on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 06:04 UTC
dorin.lazar
Member since:
2006-12-15

Am I the only idiot who likes this feature? The web history, I mean? Because I want google to act smarter for me - THIS is what I use it for. Because it knows the context of what I search when I do it. Makes my life easier, for sure.
So why should I complain? Ok, it's nice to remove the search history, I like this too, I have the option. But it seems like there's this silly crusade against Google, when Google feels like the last man standing, fighting against the demise of the web as free as we know it.
But heck, I might be the village idiot and not know it.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Idiot?
by Beta on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 08:15 UTC in reply to "Idiot?"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

But it seems like there's this silly crusade against Google, when Google feels like the last man standing

Highlighted by the fact you’re on 0 points for this post atm. :|

I like the web history feature but
1, I can’t export it unlike the rest of Google data
2, I don’t really want whatever dodgy searches I have done over the last 6 years leaking into my more personal and public facing areas of Google.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Idiot?
by katti on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 14:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Idiot?"
katti Member since:
2012-02-23

Me too, I actually like the Web history feature, and used it a few times to find stuff I searched for before (not the actual queries, but the results). But now I decided to clear it since it goes way back to 2005, but I wanted to have a copy it. Found a method for saving the web history here: http://geeklad.com/download-google-history.

Edited 2012-02-23 14:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Idiot?
by ichi on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 13:27 UTC in reply to "Idiot?"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

But it seems like there's this silly crusade against Google


Didn't Microsoft announce on February 1st that they were launching an advertising campaign to use privacy concerns about Google in order to try to get people to move to their own services?

I'm not sure about that and the sudden avalanche of news about Google being a coincidence.

I mean, if we were talking about news originated by third party independent sources you'd think that when talking about the unification of Google's data accross services they (at least someone somewhere) would mention that Microsoft (and likely other service providers as well) has been doing exactly that for quite some time, as stated in their own privacy policies.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Idiot?
by zima on Wed 29th Feb 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "Idiot?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, it can be a nice thing to have, maybe not strictly more useful but very much complimentary to browser history (or maybe, really, just adding more to information overload...)
For a short time I even experimented with saving browsing history there (sanitized) - an option in official Google Toolbar (though it appears to be among projects recently abandoned by Google), or in some 3rd party Opera userscript; but the UI and search of Google Web History were clearly not geared, not suitable for this.

Anyway, the whole drama sometimes feels like people have their eyes on wrong target as a threat to their privacy. Being one of many inputs for massive statistical analyses seems to me generally less troubling than, say, some potential online crazies / rogue stalkers...
(but then, a) the large entities are much more visible to everybody b) for some reason, what would be considered creepy in real life on a personal level, is now perfectly socially acceptable on, say, FB)

Edited 2012-03-01 00:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Youtube
by WorknMan on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 06:11 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Here's the same thing for Youtube, looks similar... I dunno if doing either of these will work on both sites or if you have to do them individually, as I haven't gone through it yet:

http://lifehacker.com/5886904/how-to-prevent-youtube-from-keeping-a...

Reply Score: 2

So...
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 08:32 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

So, there's no way to check what Apple has on you?

Funny, with all the big mouth talk from the Sieglers and Grubers of this world you'd think Apple was a champion of transparency and openness regarding the information they collect on you.

Reply Score: 4

DOn't use Google
by Ninjawidget on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 08:44 UTC
Ninjawidget
Member since:
2011-08-18

Here's an easy one, Don't Use Google! There are plenty of other search engines out there, so boycott Google and use something better.

Reply Score: 2

RE: DOn't use Google
by Soulbender on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 10:14 UTC in reply to "DOn't use Google"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yes but it's too bad Google is so much better than the alternatives.

Reply Score: 2

Holy fucking shit.
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 10:19 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

My Google history contains entries dating back to 2007... god damn. After some amusement looking through those, I'll be clearing it, and from now on watch out what I search for with Google... since now IXQuick and DuckDuckGo are around for those things that, as Google says:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines—including Google—do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."

I've already stopped using Google for anything that might be even "remotely" questionable. I just don't trust them any more, and haven't since that statement. Thanks for the link to the search history clearing page, because otherwise... I probably would have known nothing about it.

At least there are some search engines that claim (and hopefully they hold to it) that they will make every attempt to prevent unnecessary collection of personal information of any kind.

Edited 2012-02-23 10:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Holy fucking shit.
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 10:48 UTC in reply to "Holy fucking shit."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Holy hell--nevermind. There are THOUSANDS of searches saved. No way I'm sifting through all that shit, from 2007 to 2012... *cleared*

Reply Score: 2

RE: Holy fucking shit.
by Soulbender on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 12:56 UTC in reply to "Holy fucking shit."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

So, uh, you don't trust Google because they're forth-coming with what they collect and how it might be used under certain jurisdictions but instead you trust search engines that claim that they won't give out your data even though they're based in the U.S and subject to exactly the same laws as Google.
Ok, sounds good to me...

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Holy fucking shit.
by Bounty on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 18:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Holy fucking shit."
Bounty Member since:
2006-09-18

So, uh, you don't trust Google because they're forth-coming with what they collect and how it might be used under certain jurisdictions but instead you trust search engines that claim that they won't give out your data even though they're based in the U.S and subject to exactly the same laws as Google.
Ok, sounds good to me...


True, however I think the laws read something along the lines of "if you have the data, you have to give it to us if we ask." We know Google keeps the data, for a very long time, so authorities will have 5+ year history of your web searching. The next question is how long does Ixquick.com keep user data v.s. Google.

Also if you're using Tor or something and Google history, they can track you based on your account, otherwise they'd only have an exit node IP address.

Let me know if I missed something.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Holy fucking shit.
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 21:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Holy fucking shit."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

According to Wikipedia, IXQuick supposedly holds on to data for one year and does not record IP addresses.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Holy fucking shit.
by orestes on Fri 24th Feb 2012 21:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Holy fucking shit."
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

What sort of idiot is worried enough about privacy to go to the trouble of anonymizing through TOR then signs in to a web service of any sort? Oh wait, the sort that probably needs to be caught to begin with.

As for trust, the answer is simple, don't trust *any* company past their own profit motives. Ever.

Reply Score: 2

My history is all the way back to 2006!
by ggeldenhuys on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 20:02 UTC
ggeldenhuys
Member since:
2006-11-13

Wow! I never knew such a lot of information was tracked. This is scary stuff. I never even knew it was there, but I'm deleting it now.

Reply Score: 2

Bing search history
by vaette on Sat 25th Feb 2012 09:03 UTC
vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

Viewing and clearing your bing search history couldn't be easier, the link is right on the top of the bing page, "Search History". For some reason they haven't localized it for all languages yet however, so switch to US English bing if it isn't visible. Additionally Bing always deletes the history on a rolling 28 day schedule and does not share the data even among its own services. As such I find the slightly suggestive tones of the article misplaced, Microsoft does seem to do a solid job when it comes to dealing with your personal data.

Reply Score: 2

Really?
by antoniofonseca on Mon 27th Feb 2012 01:20 UTC
antoniofonseca
Member since:
2011-01-08

Ok, then show me something that is really well integrated and elegant as the original iPhone, but launched before 2007.

Reply Score: 1