Cleanin’ out my [Google] closet

By Lauren Dezenski, Features Associate Editor—Blog

Take advantage of the extra day offered by Leap Year this year and use it to clear your Google web search history.

This week, Internet behemoth Google has attracted attention to its privacy settings thanks to criticism over its new web history policy. Starting March 1, Google can use your “search history”—including your Google, YouTube and Gmail searches, to build a better profile of you as an Internet user for advertisers.

While I’m certainly not opposed to sharing my personal life on the Internet (I’m just about to hit 12,000 tweets after joining the site in 2008…), the idea that all of this information is available to advertisers is a bit off-putting.

I’d rather not have random information about my countless searches about “arepas” for my Spanish classes not result in advertisements for harina de maiz. No me gusta.

Though the entire thing is a bit loco, Google is surprisingly transparent about how users can preemptively—and easily!–clear their search histories.

Check out Google.com/history, where you’ll be prompted to sign into your Google account. Once there, simply click the “remove all Web History,” and you’re all ready for March 1.

If you want to keep your digital footprints hidden, go ahead and click “Pause Web History” so no future searches can be tracked, either.

May your future searches serve you well.

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