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Here’s how to have a healthier relationship with Google (hello, boundaries)


How to minimize what Google knows about you Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma

Spending every waking hour online is part of modern life. (What did we even do before Instagram was invented?) Your time on the internet is not going unnoticed, though. Most tech companies are in the business of tracking your every click and swipe—that’s partly how they’re able to make as much money as they do—and it might make you uncomfortable to know that Facebook, Amazon, and Google have such a handle on your likes, purchases, and behaviors.

If you’ve been searching the heck out of crystals (or even more personal things) lately and you’re getting Big Brother vibes from Google knowing exactly what you’re up to, you can take steps to manage your digital footprint and create some healthy boundaries with your tech BFF.

Here’s how to create some healthy boundaries with your tech BFF.

Here’s what you need to do, according to UK’s The Sun. First, you’ll need to be logged into your Google account, then you’ll want to go to your My Activity page. There, under the Activity Controls section, you’ll be able to turn off the settings for web activity (like searches), location history (yes, Google knows where you are and where you’ve been), YouTube history, and more. You can also manage the types of ads Google serves you and delete stored information if you want to.

If you want to do a more thorough checkup on your privacy settings, you can review your privacy controls here. And if you’re still feeling paranoid, you can use Google Chrome’s incognito browsing feature. Or, go all out and try a digital detox after clearing your activity.

Of course, you might not feel the slightest bit unsettled by this mass of personal data being out there for Google to pick through (it’s the age of the internet—this is what you signed up for!), but if you are feeling slightly bugged out, know that you don’t have to go off the grid to keep Google from saving everything you do. You can have your peace of mind and stay on the internet too.

If you’re itching to unplug altogether, but it’s a non-starter with your lifestyle, here’s how to do a digital detox without ditching your phone. Or even better—try this in-between tech life hack.