Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Google Privacy Settings

If you use google, you may have noticed some notices (or even stories in the news) about their new privacy practices.  If you skipped reading it because you were in a hurry to get to your email, basically what it said was this:

We are going to track your every move through your google account.

For example, if you have an email account with them and also use something like blogger (I do for this blog) and you also use the RSS reader or Google+ and YouTube, they will be linking these accounts (so they will all be one big account) and they will start tracking your browser history.

For some of us, we probably don't care if google realized I searched for "potty training" the other day.  But maybe I did a search for "_____" and I don't want you to know about it.  (I did consider putting something naughty there, but my parents read this blog, I thought I should keep it safe for their eyes.)

So can you opt out?  Yes you can, and it's easy.

1. Go to your google account.  Probably gmail.
2. Click on your name in the upper right hand corner.  It will open a menu, choose Account Settings.
3. This will open another window (or tab) on your browser.  Scroll to the bottom.
4. The last option under Services will say "View, enable, or disable web history".  Click on "Go to web history"
5. If like me, it is not turned on, just choose "No thanks".
6. If it is turned on you will see a list of recent websites visited and searches.
7. Click on the gray "Remove all Web History" button, and then click OK.

Make sure you go back and check this setting again on March 1st.  This is when google will enable it.  Please be sure to check all your gmail accounts.  (I have five!)

And if you have any questions about that, please let me know.  I will try to answer as best I can.

Now, one last thing.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't hate google, but I do believe in SOME sort of privacy.  We just share so much about ourselves these days, it's all online and right there for the taking.  The reason I am sharing this information with you is because I believe in transparency and I believe in letting people know when their information (and search histories) are no longer private.

I am happy that google shared their new procedures ahead of time and let people know what to do about it.
Unlike facebook, which just does what it wants and tells you about it later.

I'm still super-annoyed that I can't control who is subscribing to all my posts or not!  No one wants to read about my potty training questions on the mom's facebook group page.  But hey, maybe that will convince my friends to unsubscribe from every comment and post. :)

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