Google knows everything about you, this fact should come as no surprise at all. If you use an Android phone, it’ll know the last app you opened, the last person you called and even the last thing you searched using Google Now. iOS users can’t escape Google’s wrath either, its new Gboard keyboard gives it access to everything you ever type or search and if you use Chrome as your default mobile browser, it knows what you get up to online too.
Previously it’s been rather difficult to keep track of exactly what Google knows about you. Now, though, Google has launched an opt-in service known as “My Activity”, a page where you can see absolutely everything Google knows about you across all your devices in one place. Think of it a little bit like your web browser history, except this time it’s dialled up to 11.
Opting into such a service may sound a little bit like an oxymoron, especially as by doing so you give Google the right to analyse even more data about your online habits. However, in doing so, you gain the ability to edit everything Google remembers about you. This means you can delete individual activities, searches, Google Now card interactions and tailor exactly what sort of content is advertised to you via Google’s AdSense platform. In a way, you now have the control to take your browsing experience back from Google and make it your own.
You could, if you so wished, wipe the entirety of your history, leaving Google with absolutely nothing.
The My Activity page uses Google’s Material Design philosophy, presenting your data as Google Now-style cards in an Inbox-style list. You can search through anything using keywords or product names and then either delete the information from Google’s records or delve deeper into what it really knows you’ve been up to.
Not only is this a useful security and privacy feature, it’s just pretty **** interesting too. Although, it’s clear Google still has some work to do as, according to its data sources, I’ve been using my Android device in 2061 to listen to Soundcloud. I can assure you, I have definitely not.
Over the coming weeks, you’ll be prompted to sign up for My Activity – although it isn’t compulsory. If you’d rather jump in right away, you can sign up for My Activity by simply visiting the page for the first time and accepting Google’s terms.