Skip to main content

Change these 3 hidden Google settings to protect your privacy

Change these 3 hidden Google settings to protect your privacy

Big Tech companies are woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. We message each other on our Apple and Android smartphones, share photos on Facebook, shop on Amazon, work on our Microsoft and Apple computers, and Google things all day long.

It’s no secret anymore that Big Tech tracks what we do and packages up our data to sell to advertisers. 

If you’re super privacy-conscious, maybe you’re ready to nuke your private info floating around the web — or as much as you can, at least. 

Let’s look at a company I bet you interact with most days, Google. Here are three settings you need to check.

1. Don’t let others know what you do with Google

Every time you use a Google service, your interactions are logged in your My Activity page. This page shows everything that you’ve searched for, photos you’ve taken, YouTube videos you’ve watched, how you used Google’s apps and so on.

Many people don’t know that you can password protect it all. Who needs this new feature?

Let’s say you share a computer or everyone in your house knows your system password. One-click is all it takes, and everything you’ve done with Google is free for the taking. Yes, they’ll also see anything that you’d be embarrassed to talk about at the dinner table. Even if that doesn’t concern you, best be safe should your phone or laptop end up in the wrong hands.

Here’s how to lock it down:

  • Visit on a computer.
  • You will see a pop-up that says, "Safer with Google: You can add more security to My Activity by turning on extra verification." Click Manage.
  • Select the option for Require extra verification, then hit Save.

From now on, you’ll have to enter your password to see and delete your history. If your Google password is saved to your browser or computer, it defeats the purpose. You’re better off using a secure password you can remember.

2. Check Google Photo’s tracking setting

I recently wrote about the wealth of info you can see in Google Maps. You can retrace your trips going back years, down to the route. 

You might not realize Google Photos is collecting the same kind of information. You can see everywhere you've been as a series of photos on a map. Did you take a road trip and shoot pics along the way? The digital trail is there for you to see.

  • Open the Google Photos app and tap Search.
  • Under Places, you will see Your map. Tap it, then scroll down to see your photos as a list or zoom in on the map and select a location to see the photos you took there.

This might feel like a nice walk down memory lane. If you’re not bothered by it, there’s nothing for you to change. If you’re not so enthusiastic about this feature, you have a few steps to take.

  • On a computer, open Google Maps. Select the three-line menu, then click on Your Timeline.
  • At the bottom of the screen, click on Manage Location History.
  • This will open your Google account’s Activity controls page.
  • If Location History is on, the slider will be blue. Click on it to turn it off, and it should go gray. This will prevent Google from tracking any future movements or geotag photos.
  • There is also an Auto-Delete option, where you can choose a period for location data to be automatically deleted. This ranges from photos older than three months to photos older than 36 months.

To delete anything more recent, follow these steps:

  • Open Google Photos on a PC.
  • In the top right-hand corner, click the Settings cog.
  • Scroll down and click Sharing.
  • Activate the slider for Hide photo location data.

3. A new kind of tracking

Visit a new website, and there's a good chance you'll get a pop-up asking you to allow cookies. Cookies track the sites you visit and what you do there. They do handy things like saving your passwords and what's in your online shopping carts, but at the expense of your privacy. All this data is used to target you with ads.

Google is doing away with third-party cookies. No, that doesn’t mean your info won’t be shared with advertisers. The method is changing, though. Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, runs behind the scenes in the Chrome browser for select users. This type of tracking groups you with people with similar interests.

Bennett Cyphers of the privacy-focused nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation says FLoC was created to "avoid the privacy risks of third-party cookies, but it will create new ones in the process."

If you’re using Chrome, you may be "FLoCed" without even knowing it. Visit to find out if you’re part of the trial.

You have two options if you are. You can opt-out of all third-party tracking in Chrome.

  • Click the three-dot settings menu.
  • Go to Privacy and security > Cookies and other site data.
  • Choose the option for Block third-party cookies.
Source: foxnews

Popular posts from this blog

How to watch England vs New Zealand: Live stream 2nd Test series cricket on

With the first Test ending in a draw, the series is on a knife edge at Edgbaston, as Joe Root's side look to put off the field controversies to one side and claim a much needed win against the Kiwis. Don't miss a single ball of the 2nd Test with our England vs New Zealand live stream guide below. The series has been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of offensive historic tweets posted by Ollie Robinson who made his debut in the opening Test but has since been suspended. With the controversy still brewing amid interventions from politicians and accusations leveled at other members of the team, Root has a battle on his hands to keep his side focused on the game ahead. One positive for Root coming into the game is that they'll be playing in front of a near capacity crowd at Egbaston, with the overwhelming majority of the expected 18,000 spectators set to be cheering on the home side. The tourists have been delivered a huge blow coming intot his final match, with s

6 things Apple stole from Android at WWDC— and one that Google should steal

Every year, Apple and Google trade ideas for their newest versions of iOS and Android, respectively. But this year, during Apple's WWDC 2021, it seems like Apple purloined more than a few ideas that Google's integrated into Android over the last few years. Millions of iOS users won't get their hands on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 until later this year, so until then, we don't know until then how the new features will fare in the real world. For now, here's a tongue-in-cheek look at six features Apple, um, borrowed from Android with its latest software releases. Jump to: iPad widgets and app drawer Live Text Apple Maps AR navigation iOS notifications New Siri capabilities Apple Photos Bonus: What Google needs to steal iPad widgets and app drawer iPad OS 15 introduced two big new updates for the iPad home screen today: widgets and the App Library. If you think this sounds awfully familiar, there's a good reason for that. 2020's iOS 14 introduced both

Every armor set in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Armor up Ratchet and Rivet before taking down their enemies. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart features several armor sets that both Ratchet and Rivet can wear throughout the game, giving them damage buffs and other benefits. Each armor set is comprised of three pieces; the helmet, chest, and boots. Without all three pieces of a complete set, you won't get their collection bonus buffs. Thankfully, each map tells you exactly where to find the armor you need. It's then all about exploring the area and picking it up. You'll find most pieces within optional dimensional rifts that feature platforming puzzles of some kind, and there are eight total sets to be found. Here's every armor set in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and the buffs that they offer: Galactic Ranger Description: The classic helmet of the Solana Galactic Rangers. The Galactic Rangers' chest armor is forged with justice and Raritarium. The Galactic Rangers' pants protect the galaxy... and your legs

Best Roku Stick deals May 2021: $30 off Roku Ultra, Streambar and more

Transforming nearly any TV into a smart TV is affordable and easy with a Roku streaming stick. These tiny devices plug into your TV's HDMI port to unlock access to a world of streaming services, live TV channels, and other apps that will never leave you without entertainment. While prices are rather comparable to its main competition, the Amazon Fire TV Stick , Roku's devices have a few interesting features you won't find on a Fire stick. Roku Ultra - HD/4K/HDR/Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos | $31 off at Amazon The Roku Ultra is the fastest, most powerful Roku streaming device so far, and it's even compatible with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for a more cinematic experience. It has a better wireless range than other models as well. Today's deal saves you over $30 off its regular price. $69 at Amazon Once you've plugged in your new Roku streaming device, you can download the Roku app and use it as a remote or even plug headphones into your phone and listen to