The easiest and most failsafe way to protect your privacy from Google’s prying eyes is to sign out of Google’s websites – not just Gmail, but other Google-owned sites like YouTube, Picassa and Blogger – when you don’t need to check your email or post videos and photos to your other pages (you don’t need to be signed into YouTube or Google Search to surf those sites).
If you must stay signed into Gmail all day, then you can still take some steps to minimise the information Google can gather on you:
- First, once you’re signed in, go to www.google.com/history and click to pause Web History, and then Remove Web History. Confirm by clicking OK.
- Or inside Gmail, click on your name click on your account settings and scroll down to services, where you can pause, edit or remove all Web History.
- Once you’ve deleted the history from your accounts, you now need to clear it from your browser and from any Google toolbars you’ve been using. In Firefox and Internet Explorer, you can do this via the “tools” menu. In Chrome, you can click on the spanner icon and go to the “Under the Hood” tab to choose “Clear Browsing Data.”
- Go to www.dataliberation.org, which has been set up by Google to explain exactly how you can move your data out of (and into) Google products.
- You can cultivate more privacy-protecting search habits by switching between different search engines – Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome – and use particular tool like Chrome’s “Incognito Mode” for searching that doesn’t record browsing and download histories. Avoid using your Internet service provider’s search engine (eg via Bigpond’s homepage) to do searches – and, importantly, don’t Google yourself. These search habits just make it easier information to be gathered on you.
- Finally, resources like the Electronic Frontier Foundation publish information on how to defend your digital privacy. https://www.eff.org/wp/six-tips-protect-your-search-privacy