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Author Topic: Today is Your Last Chance to Remove your Search History from Google's New Policy  (Read 7850 times)
mouser
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« on: February 22, 2012, 05:36:03 PM »

From ITWorld:

Quote
Google announced in January it would unify most of its services under a single privacy policy and a single set of data-gathering tools that will arrange all Google's useful data on each of its customers in an efficient database, from which it is much simpler to sell that customer as a commodity to advertisers looking for specific patterns of behavior.

... if you're cautious at all about the amount of information Google has about you, uncertain at all how little evil Google will do with all the consolidated information or just a little woogy about anyone having big chunks of surveillance on you with a yen to sell it: go erase your Google history now.

...

Tomorrow, after all your odd searches, secret obsessions and kinky lunch reading is ensconced inside a special database, you won't be able to get to the data any more...

The history you have to delete is on Google.com. When you're signed in, Google keeps track of where you're going and what you're looking at, and stores that history on its server files.

Today only you can still delete that data, by following the instructions provided by EFF.


Step by step guide to clearing your search history via the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation): here.

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tranglos
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 05:55:10 PM »

Nice, thanks!

Though browsing my old search history (almost 18k entries) was a bit like looking at old family albums. Recalling the stuff I was doing or thinking of doing at the time, all the thoughts that came to naught, and a few that didn't. Could even be useful. I'd like a feature like that. On my own da*n system.
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EĆ³in
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 07:08:01 PM »

I don't fully get this "last day" thing. As I understood it's the last day before Google combine all you data, but I've hadn't before heard that after this you can no longer delete anything.

I guess after today it'd be nigh impossible to delete just your search history without affecting other Google services you avail of. Is that what people mean by "last day"?
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 07:19:07 PM »

I don't think I can answer that definitively, and I don't want to pass on misinformation -- but the impression I got was that tomorrow they are going to merge all search history they have on you so far, into their private opaque storage of your habits -- and that you may not ever be able to undo that or clear that.  You may be able to clear your web search history after tomorrow from some separate standalone list, but your prior search history from earlier may be walled off from you and kept permanently and inaccessible to you.  Again I don't know for sure but that's the impression I got.  Maybe someone else can help clarify.
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Josh
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 07:52:20 PM »

And....?
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 09:22:48 PM »

And....?

Well that means you may never be able to undo your secret habit of viewing Denver the Last Dinosaur Videos from your history. So they'll keep selling your data until a Chinese company offers you Evolution Kits.
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IainB
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 09:24:10 PM »

@mouser: Thanks for this. It caused me to change my mind.
I had already read about it in the post of 2012-02-21 in the Deeplinks blog (EFF), but had flagged it in my mind as only a partial removal of data, and therefore of not much use.
However, I changed my mind after reading your post and the EFF site again - where it looked as though they had updated their post twice on 2012-02-22.
I figured that every little bit of privacy for us "products" of Google's could potentially help, and so I deleted my Google search history.

That was quite a hard thing for a packrat like me to do!    Wink
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IainB
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 09:25:24 PM »

So they'll keep selling your data until a Chinese company offers you Evolution Kits.
Very droll.    Grin
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bob99
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 09:31:01 PM »

It may be too late already.  I went to look at my history to see what was there and maybe clear it.  The only screen that comes up for me is:



I do not get the option like the screen shown in the EF example:



Oh well.
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Josh
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2012, 09:43:03 PM »

And....?

Well that means you may never be able to undo your secret habit of viewing Denver the Last Dinosaur Videos from your history. So they'll keep selling your data until a Chinese company offers you Evolution Kits.

That would imply care that I care about their knowing about me looking up desktop photos of midgets riding on a stegosaurus while eating green jello and wearing a party toga from the movie animal house.

Privacy, and security, are illusory in the modern age. To believe otherwise is simply gullible. I am not saying we should not monitor and continue to scrutinize companies like Google, but I am saying that we need to look at what we are scrutinizing and just how much our perceived notion of "privacy" is being impacted.
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IainB
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2012, 10:20:29 PM »

It may be too late already.
No, I think that simply means that your account's search web history was already OFF (by some prior default), and so you have nothing accumulated to delete.
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nosh
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2012, 11:14:04 PM »

I don't think there's an element of permanence to this, not if Google acts on commonsense logic, anyway. They can expect a ton of legal trouble and bad press (although whether they actually care anymore is moot... tongue) if deleted search history data persists within their organization. If they have something in the TOS that allows them to do that, wow!... guess even the more paranoid among us are no match for their evil!  Thmbsup

I don't trust Google but my instinct tells me they're not that stupid (the Google desktop UI notwithstanding) or evil (getting less confident about that by the minute, TBH, so just hitting post before I have to completely rewrite this.)

My understanding is, this is to avoid the element of surprise/horror that the cross-pollination could result in.
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worstje
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2012, 11:20:22 PM »

That's history since 2006 deleted. Hot dayum, thanks for the pointer. That was some scary shit they know about me. Sad
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nosh
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2012, 11:46:04 PM »

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urlwolf
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2012, 03:19:46 AM »

Damn, it didn't work for me. Maybe I was too late (today is the 23rd).  Angry
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tomos
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2012, 03:31:01 AM »

It may be too late already.  I went to look at my history to see what was there and maybe clear it.  The only screen that comes up for me is:
 (see attachment in previous post)
I do not get the option like the screen shown in the EF example:
 (see attachment in previous post)
Oh well.

same here
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Tom
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2012, 06:50:49 AM »

It may be too late already.
No, I think that simply means that your account's search web history was already OFF (by some prior default), and so you have nothing accumulated to delete.

Man I hope you're right ... I got (here late...) the same History Already Off message also.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2012, 06:54:57 AM »

@mouser - Thanks for the heads up ... But in the future can you put stuff like that in a full screen kiosk mode popup window? ...So us slower kids don't miss it.  cheesy
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bob99
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2012, 07:20:20 AM »

Let me ask if this could be the reason I didn't see the clear history choice?
Do they only collect history info when you are logged on to your Gmail account?
The only reason I have an account is it was required by Verizon when I had an Android phone.  The only time I log onto it is to see if I have any mail on the account or modify some contacts I keep there for my BB phone. And always log off when I'm done. I never search the web when logged in to my account. 
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tomos
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2012, 08:01:24 AM »


^ I'm often logged in (and using search), & I got the same results as you Bob...
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Tom
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2012, 08:28:46 AM »

^ I'm often logged in (and using search), & I got the same results as you Bob...

I just didn't know. That shoots my theory. 
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wraith808
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2012, 08:32:57 AM »

I don't fully get this "last day" thing. As I understood it's the last day before Google combine all you data, but I've hadn't before heard that after this you can no longer delete anything.

I think the "last day" thing has to do with your search history being integrated with all of the other services- including their social services.  So the bit where it tells you that someone else searched for this.  Or your search results have an effect on other things that you see.  Or other people see what you searched for.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2012, 09:13:45 AM »

Maybe you can download and close account via takeout? http://google.com/takeout
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nosh
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2012, 12:18:28 AM »

Kate Russell [BBC Click] was brave enough to wade through Google's ToS.

ToS quotes she picked up: 

Quote
We may use the name you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services.

Quote
If other users already have your email, or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo

Quote
after you delete information from our services, we may not immediately delete residual copies from our active servers and may not remove information from our backup systems.

What I Learned from Reading Google's TOS - [thenextweb.com]
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2012, 07:46:27 AM »


That would imply care that I care about their knowing about me looking up desktop photos of midgets riding on a stegosaurus while eating green jello and wearing a party toga from the movie animal house.

Privacy, and security, are illusory in the modern age. To believe otherwise is simply gullible. I am not saying we should not monitor and continue to scrutinize companies like Google, but I am saying that we need to look at what we are scrutinizing and just how much our perceived notion of "privacy" is being impacted.

Fortunately, privacy and security are not totally illusory. It's precisely the problem that it takes so much "Internet Skill" to keep your privacy. I checked some time back, and I didn't find much of anything to delete. My mail is on Yahoo and my searches are run through StartPage, which is precisely a Privacy-Specific "filter" to tackle exactly this problem.
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