Google recently revamped their account settings page making it easier to review your privacy and security settings. You may see a notification appear on the Google homepage while logged in, or you can access their tool at https://myaccount.google.com/ .
It’s easy to walk through the new “Security Checkup” and “Privacy Checkup” wizards, and a great idea to do so especially if you use more than one of Google’s services (like GMail and Youtube, for example.) Just go to the new My Account page and look for the Checkup buttons.
If you like having a personalized experience on Google, then most of the default privacy settings are fine for you. Personally, I’m not overly concerned with Google’s blatant spying activity, pretty much assuming that anything I do on the computer is recorded somewhere anyway. (Shout-out to the friendly NSA guy!) These options just let Google show me relevant advertising.
However, if you prefer to opt out of Google’s monitoring, there are a few options here that can help Google honor your privacy. If you’re on Google Plus, you’ll get two extra options at the top, maybe more if you’re on other Google services (Youtube adds another step, too). (if you don’t know what Google + is, it’s essentially a Google version of Facebook.)
- Don’t want people seeing public information on your Google + profile page? Uncheck the first 5 boxes under “Choose what Google+ profile information you share with others.”
- “Help people connect with you” lets other Google users find you by searching your phone number. However, in reverse, this could let scammers find your phone number even though not publicly displayed on your page. Uncheck all the phone numbers if you’d like to be cautious.
- For information Google Saves (“Google Experience”): definitely pause web and app activity. (Move the slider to the left, then check ‘Pause’) This is one of Google’s primary data collection techniques. Note, they don’t entirely stop collecting data, but will collect and store much less. In this section, to increase privacy I specifically recommend you pause the following:
- Web & App Activity
- Location History (disables some Google Now features)
- Device Information (disables some google sync features if you have a mobile device–optional)
- Voice and Audio Information
- Youtube search and watch history are optional, depending on whether you want to see your history available on the Youtube site.
- For the “Make ads more relevant to you” section, I’d suggest you click the “Manage your ads settings” link. Here, you have the option to opt out of targeted advertising on Google and through Google’s advertising network on other websites. Just scroll to the bottom of this page and click “opt out” on both columns.
For information on Google’s Security options, check out the first post in this two-part series, Keeping an Eye on Google – Security