What does Google know about me? Manage your Google Activity

Google keeps track of all kinds of user data. Especially if someone is logged in with a Google Account while surfing. Find out what Google knows about you.

What does Google know about me?

Search and surf with Google

Most Internet users use the Google search engine to search for information on the internet. Searching the internet is often even called ‘googling.’ Google knows a lot about its users. For example, what searches a person has made and what websites they visit. These data together give Google a good understanding of user activity.

Different Google services

Google doesn’t just have a search engine. Also, video site YouTube, browser Chrome and e-mail service Gmail are, for example, from Google. Over the years, the company has developed all kinds of services, which often also collect data about the user. The activities of a person are stored in the Google Account. For YouTube, for example, Google keeps track of what someone was searching for and what videos they were watching.

Google Account

To be able to use Google services, it is useful and sometimes even necessary, to log in. You can do this with a free Google Account. At Gmail to read mail, at YouTube to go directly to your favorite video channels or at Calendar to view appointments. Useful, but the activities you perform are stored in your Google Account.

Manage your Google Activity

What does Google store?

Google customers can see what data the company actually stores. They can decide for themselves what Google can store about them. You can do this in My activity section of the Google Account.

Open my Google Activity

You can view My Activity in the following way.

Open a Google Chrome browser and go to Google.com to log into your Google Account, click on Sign in in the top right corner. Maybe you’re already logged in. Then there is a circle with your initials or profile picture in the upper right corner.

Click on Sign in in the upper right corner. Enter your E-mail address or phone number. Press Next to enter your password and log in.

Click on the icon with your initials or profile picture in the upper right corner. Press Manage your Google account. In the left menu, select Data and personalization.

In the data and personalization settings, search for Activity and timeline and click on My Activity.

my activity google account

The first time a guide can open. Then right-click on the blue arrow until the tour is complete.

The section My activity opens with an overview of the latest actions.

View my Activity

By default, my Activity opens in the ‘Bundle view.’ In this view, Google bundles activities such as searching, using the Facebook and Calendar app. At the top, it says Today with the number of activities that have been carried out today below. That number can rise considerably. It’s nice to see how much you’re doing in a day anyway. Do you have an Android phone or tablet? 

Then it will also tell you precisely what you did with this device and at what time. If it’s a lot of actions, then click on X other items (here the X stands for the number of items). 

Want to see all the items right away? Then click on Item by view in the left menu. Would you like to know the Activity? Then click on the blue link in the list.

google activity item view

Delete activities

You can also remove activities from the overview if you do not appreciate that it is stored by Google.

Behind an activity, click on the three-dot icon. Select Delete from the menu to delete the Activity.

Google reports that Google services are made more relevant based on your Activity. Leave the checkmark at Don’t show any more if you don’t want to receive this message anymore.

Confirm with the OK button and click Delete again.

google delete activity

Determine what is stored

Viewing My activity page can be confronting. Suddenly, a transparent overview shows what you are doing online and what Google has stored about you. With Google, it is possible to determine for each part whether there is data in Google Activity.

Open the menu on the left menu: Data and personalization. Under the heading Activity controls, click on Manage your activity controls.

An overview of the types of data collected opens. Google explains what the options mean. Determine which information you want to save.

manage google activity controls

Keeping track of activity is enabled when the slider behind the name is blue. Click on the slider to adjust it.

Other activities

Google does not display all activities in My activity. When managing activity options, the smartphone’s location history, for example, was also kept up to date. This information can be found in another place in your Google Account activity.

Click on the icon with your initials or profile picture in the upper right corner. Open your Google Account. Click on data and personalization on the left menu. 

In the heading: Activity and Timeline, click on My Activity.

Select the menu from the left list: Other Google Activity.

other activity in google account

Here is a whole list of personal data that are also kept and can be viewed further.

For example, click Manage Activity / View Activity to see where you’ve all been with a device that’s logged in to Google.

Thanks for reading.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to see and manage what Google knows about you.

Learn more about how to ensure privacy in the Google Chrome web browser.

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