“Just Google it!” is a phrase commonly used by all generations these days. Indeed, Google has evolved from a technology giant into a verb.
Google is the most popular search engine used today. If you aren’t familiar with the term “search engine”, imagine a big library index where all the index cards contain links to every single website and all of the pages within every website. The three main search engines used today are Google, Bing and Yahoo. These three search engines are the big librarians of the Internet.
There are 11 billion web searches every month and nearly two-thirds of these searches are through Google. That’s a lot of searching. But what happens to your data afterwards? Well, when you are searching the Internet, you are essentially leaving a trail crumbs of where you have been. Your computer keeps a history of your web searches in case you want to go back to a previously visited website. Although this is convenient because it speeds up your search, we recommend regularly deleting your browsing history, temporary Internet files and cookies (small files that websites put on your computer hard disk drive when you first visit). This will help keep your computer clean of extra files, tracking cookies and malware (malicious software designed to disrupt your computer, gather private information or gain unauthorized access to your computer).
Most people think that by deleting their browsing history they are staying safe and erasing all search history. Well, that isn’t always the case. If you are signed into a Google account while you are searching, then Google is most likely keeping a history of your search terms. That search information can only be deleted from within your Google account settings.
Many people are unaware that they remain signed into their Google accounts until they logout. However, it is up to us as the contractual “End User” to turn the “Search History” feature off when we create our Google or Gmail accounts. Early on, before I recognized this, I had a Gmail account holding search terms spanning three years for a total of 4000 search terms!
You may ask yourself, what is Google doing with that info? Well, 99% of Google’s revenues are generated through advertising. Have you ever noticed the ads you see suddenly cater to those topics you’ve searched or products you’ve purchased online? That’s because if you have the “Ad Preferences” feature turned on, you’ve essentially given Google permission to filter your search results and direct advertising to you based on your search history.
Some people don’t mind this, but if you and I were to type in the exact same search terms on our computers, there is a great likelihood that we will not produce the same search results and one of us may miss some relevant information.
The “Ad Preferences” settings are also located in your Google settings.
If you want to explore Google and other security settings, please contact us by email or by phone. We’re here to help!
eGurus helps you stay connected by empowering you with the knowledge of technology with customized learning plans, care & integrity. For more information, please visit our website at www.egurus.ca or visit us in Senior Living's Business Directory at www.seniorlivingmag.com/egurus-technology-tutors