Here’s how you can take control of your data from Google

Google offers a wide range of services enjoyed by billions of users. It return, Google enjoys your data. It knows the places you visit, the purchases you make, and everything else you do online. Google insists that it doesn’t sell your data and that users have plenty of control tools to restrict the data being collected. But many users are not aware of these control tools.

Given how dependent we are on Google, let’s take a look at how you can get better control over Google and the data it collects about your online behaviour.

This article is written assuming that you are reading it on your mobile with Google Account logged-in

Google says this feature helps you rediscover the things that you’ve searched for, read, and watched.

If you do not want Google to have a huge trove of data with all of their online activities stored, it is important to turn off ‘Activity’ tracking across core Google products, be it Search or YouTube or Maps. Google allows users to turn off activity tracking and delete all the data for its products. One can also set it to ‘automatically delete’ after a short period. The search giant lets users set auto-delete for 3 months, 18 months, and 36-months.

If you want Google to stop tracking your activities:

Go to
Data and Privacy > History settings > Turn off toggle

On the Activity Controls page, you will also find a location tracking section. You can then tap on “Manage Activity,” after which Google will display a map, showing you the places you’ve been and the routes you’ve travelled.

If you want Google to stop tracking your location:

Click on this link and turn off toggle.

Google says if you turn off your device’s locations, then your location will not be automatically saved to your Location History. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case in reality. But in 2018, AP reported that even if you turn off the location setting Google will still be able to track your movements, as per the investigations done by Associated Press. Google itself admits that some location data is still collected.

The search giant uses its audio recognition tech to process your audio and respond to you when you interact with Google Search, Assistant, and Maps. The company says it can store all the audio recordings if you allow it to do so. The feature is by default off, but users can double-check the settings to be sure.

If you want Google to stop tracking your activities:

Click here > uncheck the box next to “Include audio recordings”

If you don’t want the company to show you personalised ads, then you can turn off the personalised ads options.

Click here > turn the “ad personalisation” toggle off

Users can also simply type “chrome://settings/content/cookies” on Google and they will be redirected to Chrome settings. Here, you can ask Chrome to “clear cookies and site data when you close all windows.”