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Privacy

Privacy how-to: Delete your last 15 minutes of search history

Many Americans value their online privacy, taking extra steps to protect data, personal information and valuable details about their lives. One of the easiest ways to increase privacy is to delete your search history.

For some, this isn’t as easy of a task as it would seem. To delete your internet search history, you usually have to click around browser settings to find it. And that isn’t even taking into account how tricky it can be to delete your cache and cookies.

Fortunately, Google has just released a rather nifty way to clear your search history in just two steps. Here is how you do it but be aware that it is only available to iOS users for now and is coming to Android devices later this year.

Here are the details

Google Search is used by billions of people every day, and naturally, millions of sensitive questions are asked. To add an extra layer of protection, the search giant unveiled a new tool that iOS users can use to quickly make the last 15 minutes of their search history disappear.

RELATED: Change these 3 hidden Google settings to protect your privacy

The tool won’t delete your history from the Chrome browser, though. It is only designed for the search history option in the Google app itself. If you have the Web & App Activity setting turned on, your browser’s history will be saved to your Google account.

The data it collects is used for a variety of things, but the main purpose is to be able to serve you with personalized advertising and content. The history in the Google app can be deleted at any time, but it can also be automatically deleted after three, 18 or 36 months.

How to use the search history tool

To delete the last 15 minutes of your search history from the Google app:

  • Open the Google app.
  • Tap on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner.
  • The third option on the screen should be Delete last 15 minutes.
  • There is no confirmation button, and once it is tapped the history will be deleted. There is a short window in which you can undo the action.

Google also added some extra privacy features. If you share a device with someone else, you can lock down your My Activity history. My Activity is a catch-all place that stores your history, controls and details.

RELATED: Use Google? Big change coming to the way you store docs

“Maybe you share a device and want to make sure others who use it can’t go into My Activity and look at your Search history. Now, we’ve given you a way to put extra protection around the searches saved in your account,” Google explained in a blog post.

Here’s how to require an extra step to view your full history on My Activity:

  • On your Android phone or tablet, go to myactivity.google.com.
  • Above your activity, select Manage My Activity Verification.
  • Turn Extra Verification on or off.

These simple changes will help boost your privacy. If you’re worried about privacy at all, you might want to consider making these changes.

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