Almost everyone has an online presence now, but that comes with at least some privacy invasion. There is a high chance of your every move being tracked unless you do something about it. The data that gets tracked is not just getting stored or looked upon, it even gets sold to any ordinary bidder there is.
Let’s talk about the most common search engine, I.e.: Google. Google has access to many interconnected platforms, that are equally important in an individual’s daily life. The interconnected platforms include the calendar, maps, smart assistants, location data, and much more. Hence, we can say that Google knows a lot about its consumers.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure your data or privacy is protected.
1- Turn on two-factor authentication:
It’s very common to have your personal data stored in your accounts. You wouldn’t want your personal data to get accessed by anyone, right? Turning on the two-factor authentication is an extra measure for your account’s privacy concerns. It will help your account get more secure with another layer of safety protecting it. If you wish to enable this additional security, go back to https://myaccount.google.com/. Then go to “Security”, click on “2-Step Verification”, and re-enter your password, then simply follow the steps to set up the Authenticator app.
2- Quit Voice Recordings:
Google is responsible for many things including the voice commands you give and other audio. It is more than just a common browser. The smart assistant which is also voice-controlled, not just listens to your commands, but also stores them and sends them to real people out there to interpret.
If you don’t want your audio stored and later on used without permission you can always stop it from being recorded. Go to the “Data and personalization” page > “Voice and Audio Activity”. Then switch on “Paused”.
3- Block Email Tracking:
Having an email account is a basic necessity in today’s world. Some people even possess more than one. But it can’t be said for sure if your email account is fully secured. It may come as a surprise to you when you find out about its privacy measures. When we talk about privacy issues, the only thing that comes to mind is protecting your account from being hacked. But, that’s not the only concern. What if I tell you, people can know if you’ve read their emails or not? They can even tell the moment you’ve read it, and the number of times you’ve read it.
This method is mostly used by companies and is known as pixel tracking.
In order to prevent anyone to avail the benefit of this feature, log into your Gmail account, then go to “Settings”. Scroll down to the “Images”, and select the option that says “Ask before displaying external images”. All you have to do now is save changes and no more pixel tracking.
4-Stop Location Tracking:
You must have noticed that you’re at a specific place and without even using any application, you get recommendations for the place you visited, maps, and much more. This happens because of this feature known as “Location History”. Google usually knows where you are or where you’ve been to with your devices.
If you don’t like Google tracking you this way then you can always put a stop to it. Log into your Google account. Then click on the icon at the upper right hand of your screen. Then go to “Google Account” > “Data and Personalization” > “Location History” > then simply switch the icon to “Paused”.
Here you go. No more tracking of your location.
5- Switch to being anonymous:
It’s pretty much explained that Google tends to know a lot about you. But what’s troubling than this, is that it just might share the information it has on you, with others. But thankfully you can stop Google from doing so and even customize what information is being shared. Go to https://aboutme.google.com making sure you’re logged in. Change the settings to your preferences and voila!
6- Delete your purchase history:
Do you know that Google has been tracking whatever you buy? The Google support page claims that they collect the data from your usual purchases and make a list of all orders placed through the Google Play Store, or even using the Google assistant. But that’s not it. It even collects information from the confirmation emails you get or receipt received through email.
Where it’s not quite possible to turn this feature off of collecting information, you can delete the items from the list. In order to do so, go to https://myaccount.google.com/purchases then check “Gmail confirmations”. Once you remove the items, then choose “Remove Purchase” > “View Email” > “More” > “Delete this message”.
While Google is almost irreplaceable in terms of its quality service and usage, there are numerous search engines to use if its tracking bothers you. Try using a search engine that doesn’t track you, but if you don’t want to make this change, then make your search without being logged into your Gmail account.