Imagine if you could look back at everything you ever typed into a Google search box. Chances are the different inquiries you have made over the years would reveal quite a bit about who you are and your personal history. Surprisingly, there is a way for you to download your Google search history dating all the way back to 2005. The search engine giant has a useful feature that lets you archive every search you've made using Google onto your computer. Be warned, however, that downloading this archive does pose security risks such that you may also want to consider deleting your Google search history entirely.
What does your search history reveal?
Surprisingly, your Google search history is much bigger than the search inquiries you make using Google Search itself. The search history compiled by Google includes terms that you may have typed into a search box that is operated by Google, such as a search within Gmail, YouTube, and a search using Google Maps or Google Images.
How to download your search history
To download your Google search history, you will need to head over to Google Takeout. Google Takeout allows you to choose which Google apps will be included in your downloaded archive, including emails, YouTube searches, and Google Maps. All of the apps will be selected by default, so you will need to deselect any that you don't want included. By hitting next, Google will then give you the option of choosing your archive's format, which can be as a .zip, .tgz, and .tbz. If in doubt, your best bet is to choose a zip file. You can also choose your delivery method, including a download link via email or you can add the archive to Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. Click next and Google will start compiling your archive. This process can take a very long time, especially if emails are included in the archive. Be aware, too, that storing such an archive in one place can be risky, especially since it tends to reveal a lot about who you are.
How to delete your search history
It's important to keep in mind that clearing your browser history is not the same as clearing your Google search history. Your browser history is stored locally and is typically much smaller than your Google search history. If you want to delete your search history you will need to head to your Google Account's My Activity page and click on the vertical ellipsis in the top right-hand corner. Click on "Delete activity by." You will see a screen where you can choose a date range for which your search history will be deleted. Enter your preferred date range and click "Delete."
Your Google search says a lot about who you are. While it can be interesting to see what terms you've searched for in the past, it can also raise important privacy concerns, especially if you've searched for medical information or other items that you would prefer to keep hidden from public view. As such, it's good to know not only how to archive your Google search history, but also how to delete it permanently.
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