A Google account is one of the most prolific online identities in the western world, and it can often contain a wealth of sensitive information.
Everything from your Android phone’s location data to your browser search history can be stored in Google’s data centres, and this information could prove very dangerous in the wrong hands.
This data is also the key to an online identity and curated platforms, especially for people who use Android smartphones, Google Chrome, YouTube, and other popular Google-powered platforms.
For this reason, it is important to know exactly what personal information you are sharing with Google and to ensure that your account is as secure as possible.
There are various ways to control what information you share with Google and save to the cloud.
Below are five tips for keeping your Google account private and secure.
When it comes to privacy on the web, Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode is a go-to solution for anybody wishing to browse the Internet without their history being saved by Google.
Starting Google Chrome in Incognito Mode opens a new window which is not logged in to your Google account and will not save your browsing data.
Chrome’s Incognito Mode does not save your browsing history, cookies, website data, or form information, but it also does not protect against every security threat.
Websites you visit in Incognito Mode might still be able to view your information, and your ISP may still be able to inspect your traffic.
This tool is more useful for users who would like to browse websites and make searches that they do not want stored on or associated with their Google account.
View and change your search history
Google has a dedicated Your Data in Search page which can be accessed from the Google home page via the settings menu on both desktop and mobile.
The page offers a breakdown of your recently-recorded search activity, as well as any websites you recently visited based on those results.
This does not include any searches or browsing you have conducted when using Incognito Mode.
Your search activity data is saved in your Google account, and Google uses this information to help improve its algorithms.
However, you can delete your Search activity directly from the Your Data in Search page, as well as change certain Google-wide controls which can have an impact on your privacy.
There is a good chance your Google account is one of the most important online profiles you currently use, and it is therefore important to secure this account properly.
This is especially true if you use your Google account’s password manager feature to store secure passwords for other websites.
It is highly recommended that users follow best security practices by securing their Google account with a unique, strong password which is not used anywhere else.
Users should also secure their account with two-factor authentication, as this can greatly reduce the risk of your account being compromised.
Upon accessing your Google account, attackers are granted the ability to remotely monitor your devices, emails, communications, saved passwords, and more.
For this reason, you should ensure that your Google account is extremely secure and and backed up by two-factor authentication.
Google offers a detailed and powerful account dashboard which includes a Security Checkup tool.
This allows you to enhance your security further by checking which devices are connected to your account as well as monitoring recent security events.
The tool functions as a sort of checklist which ensures that you are aware of all major device connections and keep your information secure.
Security Checkup will alert you to any potential issues or recent events which may reflect security flaws, and it is recommended that you periodically check this page for any strange behaviour.
Like the Security dashboard, Google also includes a Privacy Checkup page which delivers a refined view of the information you have given the company permission to collect.
This dashboard can be scary for users who have left all of their device settings on default and have not stopped to think about what information they are permitting to be collected about their daily lives.
The tool also allows users to refine which data is collected by their Google-powered software and devices, and you can enable or disable individual settings at will.
It should be noted that disabling many settings (such as YouTube Watch history or Location history) can greatly reduce the accuracy of content or search result recommendations, especially those generated dynamically based on past consumption.
This Privacy Checkup is important to do for Google account users, as it can give you an easy-to-understand and comprehensive view of the information you are exposing to the company.