Google collects a lot of data about its users.
The information is mined through the company’s products (like search, YouTube, Gmail) and used for serving ads, thereby improving user experience.Read more ↓
However, as many may not like this kind of tracking, especially with all the concerns around data privacy/security, we have curated a series of steps to limit this behavior.
Let’s take a look.
Control Web and App activity from Google account settings
In order to stop Google’s data tracking practices, you need to open Activity Controls in Google account settings.
Here, you’ll find Web & App Activity, the place that holds information about everything you do on the web, like what you search on Chrome or in Google apps or the apps you opened.
Next, turn the toggle for this option off to immediately stop tracking.
Then, disable location tracking
After Web activity, scroll down to the second option – Location History.
Google uses your phone’s GPS to know about the places you visit (even when you don’t use maps) and offer real-time recommendations and personalized routes.
You can stop this tracking by turning off the toggle for Location History and delete already collected location information by hitting the ‘Manage activity’ button.
Turn off Voice & Audio Activity
Google stores everything you say to Google Assistant/services, be it a weird marriage proposal or a command to turn lights on.
The recordings make Assistant better at recognizing your voice, but it’s pretty creepy to have your voice stored on a foreign company’s server.
So, if you want, stop this tracking by turning the toggle for Voice & Audio Activity off in Activity Controls.
How to delete existing recordings
To delete existing recordings, click on ‘Manage Activity’ and then head over to ‘Delete activity by’ to add data and time filters and delete all Google Assistant recordings in one go.
Also, pause YouTube search and watch history
Once voice recording is stopped, head to the bottom and turn the options for YouTube search and watch history off.
Both sections, as the names suggest, allow Google to save the videos you have searched and watched on YouTube to offer better recommendations on the video streaming service.
If you are ok with Google saving your YouTube searches/streams, leave the options untouched.
Prevent emails from being logged
If recent reports are anything to go by, Google also uses the emails you receive on Gmail to log your purchases, flights, bills, upcoming trips.
The company uses this log to serve alerts via Google Assistant and keep you up to date.
However, the thing is, this kind of tracking can’t be stopped; you can only delete this information by removing the source email.
Finally, disable app permissions
To further limit Google’s access, head over to your Android phone’s settings and disable permissions for location, contacts, camera, storage, and more for Google apps. The same could be done for iOS, although Google doesn’t have this much control on Apple’s platform.