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When was the last time you checked out your Google activity? I’m not just talking about your search history, but also activity for web & apps, location and even YouTube. These pieces come together to form a fairly complete overview of all your Google-centric activity.

Certainly, you can gather your web information from within Chrome, but tracking down app activity could be a bit more of a challenge. For those who are interested in not only keeping track of that activity but also deleting it (as needed), Google has created a website specifically for this purpose.

SEE: iCloud vs. OneDrive: Which is best for Mac, iPad and iPhone users? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The site in question is My Activity and serves as the easiest method of managing those important pieces of Google-ness.

Let me show you how to use this site, so you can delete entries and even turn off some of those services.

What you’ll need

The only thing you’ll need for this is a Google account. You should know that this service isn’t limited to the Chrome browser, but works with any browser you’ve connected to your Google account. It doesn’t matter if you use Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave or Edge, any browser that’s logged into your Google account will save your activity.

Let’s see how it works.

How to manage your Google activity

Open your web browser and head to the Google My Activity site. On that page, click Verify at the bottom (Figure A).

Figure A

Verifying that it's you who's about to use Google My Activity.
Verifying that it’s you who’s about to use Google My Activity.

You’ll be prompted for your Google account password. Once you’ve verified it’s you, you should see the full My Activity page (Figure B), where you can begin managing your activity.

Figure B

The full My Activity page makes it simple to manage your Google activity.
The full My Activity page makes it simple to manage your Google activity.

If you scroll through the listing of your search history, you can easily delete an entry by clicking the associated X. You will then be prompted to confirm the deletion of the activity (Figure C).

Figure C

Confirming the deletion of an activity from the My Activity page.
Confirming the deletion of an activity from the My Activity page.

You don’t have to delete individual items. Instead, you can click the X associated with Today to delete your entire search activity for the day.

Once you’ve deleted an activity, it will be permanently removed from your account and there’s no way of getting it back. Remember, Google uses this activity to refine its services for you, so when you delete an activity, Google’s algorithms will not be able to associate it with your account. For many, this is a great way to up their privacy game with Google.

Another interesting thing you can do with My Activity is to disable Location History. Remember, Location History saves all of the locations you visit with your devices (even when you aren’t using a Google-specific service), to personalize your maps, recommendations, and more. For some, that’s an invasion of privacy, so disabling this feature could be considered a must.

To do so, click Location History from the main My Activity window, and then, in the resulting window, click Turn off (Figure D).

Figure D

Disabling Location History in Google My Activities.
Disabling Location History in Google My Activities.

In the same manner, you can disable your YouTube history or even set an auto-delete option such that your YouTube history can be automatically deleted. For that, click YouTube History, click Choose an auto-delete option, select Auto-delete activity older than, and then select from 3 months, 18 months, or 36 months (Figure E).

Figure E

Setting YouTube history to auto-delete.
Setting YouTube history to auto-delete.

Click Next and then, when prompted, confirm the deletion.

One rather interesting thing I’ve found is that at the bottom of the page, you’ll find the Discover entry that will probably list out cards from your feed. What I find odd about this is that some of those cards are listed as viewed … even though I do not remember viewing them. The good news is that you can delete the entire listing by clicking the associated X.

All-in-all, Google My Activity is one of the best places to go for activity management for your Google account. I check back on this site regularly to 1) make sure that nothing is out of the norm and 2) delete any activities that might be affecting what Google presents to me that I don’t care to see.

If you’re serious about your privacy, but don’t want to completely disconnect from Google, consider My Activity a must-use tool.

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