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Google

Google likely has a massive amount of your data stored. Google uses this data to provide more relevant search results and recommendations. They are also making a fortune from that data. Although Google claims to never directly sell your data, the tech giant does monetize the data it collects. This is done in two different ways. The first is Google builds a profile based on specific demographics and interests and then sells access to advertise to users who fit that profile. The second method is called "real time bidding". Real time bidding is the most commonly used method of data selling, and happens in less than seconds. Many ad's aren't operated by the same people that operate the website itself. They are simply blank spaces in the website operators mind that are filled depending on who is visiting the site and who is paying to advertise. Real time bidding is the process of matching the user accessing the site to a paying advertiser. This seems harmless until you take into account how hyper-specific those ads can be due to the vast stores of data Google has on each user. This is even more worrying knowing that this data is being shared in order to entice a higher bid on each users ad space. This along with the knowledge that Google is selling your data to organizations like

ICEmay convince you to delete your data from Google. If so, this is the guide for you.

Step one - Find Alternatives

Deleting your data from Google will do you no good if you immediately begin using their products again. Some of the products are easy to replace, others it may be wiser to just use in a way that tracks less data. The choice is yours, but below are some common Google products and some great alternatives or methods of surfing the web with greater privacy.

Chrome browser - Try Mozilla Firefox with theDo Not Trackfeature

Gmail - Try ProtonMail

GoogleDocs - CryptPad seems great, but I personally use OneNote despite the cost and lack of a guarantee that my data won't be used 

Google.com - This is a tough one to do without. There arealternativesbut if you're like me, you are too familiar with the Google search interface to do without it. 

 

Step two - Disable tracking on any Google products and services you can't do without

>Go tohttps://myaccount.google.com/

>Click Data & Privacy 

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>Scroll down to the History settings and Ad Settings

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>Disable anything that you no longer want tracked

 

Step three - Delete your search history from Chrome

>Open Chrome

>Click the three dots in the upper right hand corner 

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>Click Ctrl+H

>Click Clear browsing data

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>Choose a timeline (I recommend "All time" if you are looking to delete all data from Google)

>Confirm

 

Step four -  Delete your Google accounts

>Download your data fromhttps://takeout.google.com/

>Go tohttps://myaccount.google.com/

>Click Data & Privacy

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>Scroll down to the More options section and click on Delete your Google Account 

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>Follow the instructions and delete your account

 

Step five - Delete your name and information from Google Searches

This step is not guaranteed by any means. The only real way to attempt this is to remove your online presence entirely. You can also contact data-collection/brokerage sites and other websites with information on you directly and work to remove your information, but the process is difficult. 

 

Conclusion

It's impractical for many (including myself) to fully remove myself from mainstream access to the internet in an effort to improve privacy. But simply knowing that companies like Google are tracking and taking small steps to maintain some privacy helps. Using alternatives when possible, deleting data often (you can set up step three in way the periodically deletes your older data), and keeping in mind that everything doen on the internet is tracked, analyzed, and sold all help keep the world a bit more private.