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Google's new My Activity tool lets you see what they track about you

Google's new My Activity tool lets you see what they track about you
image courtesy of shutterstock

Have you ever wondered just how much information Google knows about you? If you are a Google user, you might be shocked to find out how much of your Internet activity is being documented. Let's take a look at what Google knows and what they do with that information.

The tech company is now giving its users a peek at what they know. Tools that allow people to check out what Google's ad-tracking service is finding out about them have been rolled out. You can even opt-in or out of their personalized advertisement service.

You'll find this new tool in the My Activity portion of Google's account settings. There, you'll see your search activity across multiple platforms, such as Chrome, YouTube, Android and pretty much everything else you do online. It even gives you the chance to edit or delete the information you find.

If you don't see the My Activity option right away, don't worry. Not everyone has access to it yet. Google is rolling the tool out in phases and is notifying users when it's available through regular privacy and security updates.

For now, here's a bit more about how it works:

To find My Activity, head to Google's home page and log in to your account.

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Once you're logged in, you'll see the My Activity section listed as an option in the preview tiles.

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From there, you'll be asked to confirm your password before any of your information will be shown.

Google My Activity

Ad personalization on Google search:

Google's main use of the tracking information is to personalize ads for each user. You are able to opt-in or out of that if you'd like. Opting out will not stop ads altogether. You will still see advertisements, they just won't be based on your behavior. Google support explains that since ads personalization controls your experience when you’re not signed in to your Google Account, it only applies to the specific browser or device that you’re using.

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Ad personalization across the web:

Now Google is giving users the chance to opt-in to an interest based ad extension. If you decide to opt-in you will see personalized ads on third-party sites. You would have to enable this as users are not automatically enrolled. By doing this, ads that show up everywhere on the Internet will be tailored to information from your Google account. These ads are usually determined through cookies on your computer.

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Not everyone likes the idea of having their personal history available online. Whether it's an embarrassing picture of you, an angry status update or stupid video you posted, you might want it gone.

If you are not comfortable with being tracked click here and read our article on how to remove everything Google knows about you.

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Source: The Guardian
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