How to Access and Manage Your Google Activity Using Google Activity Controls

Google offers a wide range of products in the technology space. Popular Google products include Chrome for web browsing, YouTube for streaming videos, and Maps for route planning. While you can access the products online or through an app, Google encourages users to create an account to maximize the benefits of these products.

If you use these products with your Google account, Google will store some of your activity in a “My Activity” repository. The saved activities include the websites you have visited, the searches you have made and the videos you have watched. You can manage the type of saved activity using a feature in your Google Account called Activity Settings.

Types of activities saved under My Activities

Google only records the activity you perform using a Google product or service if it falls into one of the following categories:

  • Web & App Activity: This includes your search history and activity across Google products like Chrome, Maps, and Search. It also includes audio recordings of your interactions with the Google Assistant.
  • Location History: This stores the data of places you visit or search for, including commute routes. It also offers personalized sightseeing recommendations.
  • YouTube History: This includes videos you search for or watch on YouTube.

According to Google, the purpose of storing data about users’ activities is to customize the user experience. Also, users can edit the activity type they want to save.

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How to edit the activity that is saved to your Google account

In order for your activity to be saved, the activity must fit into the categories explained above. You must also sign in to your Google account for the data to be saved under “My Activities”. If you meet the requirements, follow these steps to edit the activities that are saved to your Google Account:

Step 1: Open the Google Accounts page in a web browser and sign in with your account information.

Step 2: On the left side of the new window, click Data & privacy.

Step 3: Scroll down the window to History Settings.

Step 4: Click My Activity to go to the My Google Activity page.

Step 5: On the new page, click one of the Web & App Activity, Location History, or YouTube History buttons. This should take you to the Activity Control page.

Step 6: On the Activity Settings page, scroll down and click View All Activity Settings. This should show all activity controls.

Step 7: Scroll to Web & App Controls. You can click the Disable button to prevent Google from storing data about your web and app searches.

Step 8: Under the Web & App Activity sub-setting, you can enable or disable saving of your Chrome history, voice, and audio activity.

Step 9: Scroll down to the Location History control. You can click the Turn off button to prevent Google from storing data about your location.

Step 10: Scroll down to the YouTube history control. You can click the Disable button to prevent Google from storing data about your searches or watches.

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Step 11: Under the YouTube History sub-setting, you can opt-in or opt-out of saving your YouTube watch history, search history, voice and audio activity.

How to delete previous activities stored in your Google account

Turning off the setting for Google to save your web, location, and YouTube history will not delete previously saved activity. Rather, only your future activities will not be saved while the old ones will remain. Follow these steps to delete your previously saved activity:

Step 1: Open the Google Accounts page in a web browser and sign in with your account information.

Step 2: On the left side of the new window, click Data & privacy.

Step 3: Scroll down the window to History Settings.

Step 4: Click My Activity to go to the My Google Activity page.

Step 5: On the My Google Activity page, click Filter by date and product.

Step 6: Select the time period of the activity you want to delete.

Step 7: Select the Google product with the activity you want to delete.

Step 8: Click Apply to save your filters.

Step 9: You can either click Clear next to your selected filters or scroll through the results of the filtered activity and clear them one by one.

How to enable two-factor authentication for your Google account

If you want to enable activity controls in your Google account, you need to enable two-factor authentication. So you can protect your data and protect against theft.

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