Most people know how to check their own browsing history by clicking on the menu item appropriately called “History”.
Whether you use a browser such as Google Chrome, Safari or Edge or whatever, each one has a way to check back on what sites you’ve browsed.
Often this option to check history may be used to find a website that you visited and want to visit again but didn’t bookmark at the time and forgotten the name of.
But that’s the conventional reason, and it might not have been an issue for most people because they probably thought it was data that was stored on their local computer – their own machine, which they might think is more secure than having their data online.
But it turns out that all that data was on Google’s servers all the time and they’ve just made it all available for you to check.
You can check your entire online history by visiting Google’s My Activity page, and you may wonder whether it’s available to anyone else.
Google has a message at the top of the page saying only you can see this page, but given that Google can probably keep records of your search history even when you use other browsers because you may be logged into your Google account, it’s a message that may not provide enough reassurance to everyone.
Why this was necessary or helpful is not yet certain, but one feature Google seems to be pushing is the ability to delete your past searches and other activity from your account.
But what happens when you do delete your search history? Is it really gone, or is it just moved to another bin?
Google says: “When you delete items from My Activity, they are permanently deleted from your Google Account. However, Google may keep service-related information about your account, like which Google products you used and when, to prevent spam and abuse and to improve our services.”
There was a legal case in Europe which Google lost, which resulted in Google having to delete search results that people don’t like.
So, for example, if a person finds information online about themselves that they don’t like through Google search, they can ask Google to remove it.
Now, the search engine offers a range of options and advice when it comes to managing your online reputation.