Originally published May 13 2015
Google lets you download your entire search history - So yes, they're monitoring and archiving our data
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) If you maintain an avid, robust online presence, chances are that you do a lot of searching. You might search for web sites, data, studies, and news. Perhaps you even search for some things you would prefer that others didn't know about.
If you use Google as your main search engine - and judging by the company's mega-earnings, most people do - your search history is carefully, systematically and completely tracked and documented.
How do we know? According to the search giant, every search query you've ever typed into the site's Spartan home page and subsequent search pages is being made available at your request.
As reported by Britain's Daily Mail, you can even edit - that is, delete - part or even all of your Google search record.
According to the Daily Mail, "The feature exports your searches to Google Drive in a ZIP archive, with files divided by year and quarter."
If you can see your browsing history, so can Google"You can download all of your saved search history to see a list of the terms you've searched for," a Google support page says. "This gives you access to your data when and where you want."
In order to view or download your history, visit history.google.com; you will be prompted to log in with your Google account. Then click on a calendar view to take a look at what you searched for on any given date.
"For those who want to keep a record of their Google searches, clicking the settings button on the top right corner can download the database," the Daily Mail reported.
Items that you have searched for can be deleted by checking a box next to them and then clicking a tab that says "remove items." Alternatively, you can delete your entire search history by clicking on "settings," then "remove items," which will prompt you to pick a time frame; select "from the beginning of time."
The search giant stresses that only account holders can see their data, but more on that in a moment.
In addition, the company warns users not to download their history file on a public computer because it could be accessed by other users of the same computer system.
According to the Daily Mail, Google began testing its download feature last year. The move follows similar ones made by other social media companies, including Facebook, to make it easier for users to access their archived data after a number of privacy concerns have arisen in recent years.
While some people might find the fact that Google has tracked every single search request since they began using the service to be useful, keep in mind what Google executives have said about data collection in the past:
We know what you're thinkingIn 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt shocked millions of Google users and privacy advocates when he admitted that the company's analytics were so good that they could predict users' thoughts as well as track them.
"With your permission, you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."
He has also said a number of other creepy things about Google's capabilities, as compiled here.
No more privacyIn December, a Dutch data protection watchdog was set to fine Google nearly $18 million if the company did not stop violating users' privacy.
As reported by Reuters:
The U.S. company is breaching the country's data protection act by using people's private information such as browsing history and location data to target them with customized ads, the Data Protection Authority (DPA) said.
StreetviewGoogle has also admitted that its Streetview documentation for Google Maps has also violated individual privacy.
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