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Stick It to Google's Privacy Policy, Delete Your Search History Now

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on February 27, 2012 5:02 AM

Google's new privacy policy takes effect in just a few days. But there's still time for users to keep their web histories from being shared, and it takes only a few clicks.

Under Google's new policy beginning March 1, user data from all Google-owned sites and products -- such as Gmail, Google+, YouTube, and Google's search engine -- will be shared across those sites. For example, a user's search queries will help determine what ads appear on other Google sites like Gmail.

But the policy change will give Google access to data that some users may consider personal, such as location, age, religion, and sexual orientation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out.

There's a simple way to block that, the EFF says.

If a user's Google web history is removed before March 1, that data will not be shared as part of Google's new privacy policy, according to the EFF.

The process takes just a few clicks, but it must be done to all of a user's Google accounts for which a user doesn't want her information shared.

Here's how to remove your Google web history, according to the EFF:

However, removing a user's web history doesn't truly "delete" a user's data. Instead, Google promises to use that data only for internal purposes. It will not be shared across other Google sites as part of the new Google privacy policy, the EFF says.

A few more caveats: Google can still share "removed" web history data with law-enforcement upon request, the EFF says. And clicking on "Remove all Web History" actually just "pauses" Google's web history function. A user can re-enable the function at any time.

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