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14 eyebrow-raising things Google knows about you

JR Raphael | Dec. 16, 2016
Some are fascinating, others are frightening -- but here's how to find out what Google has on you.

(My top four are currently my house, Target, the grocery and Barnes & Noble. What can I say? It's a wild and crazy life I lead.)

6. A full list of everything you've done from any Android device

Your smartphone is a fantastic tool for productivity-enhancing tasks like word processing, spreadsheet creation, and... oh, who the hell are we kidding? You're using the thing for mindless web browsing and meaningless game-playing, just like everyone else.

Google - Android activity
You can see a detailed log of activity on your Android devices at Google's My Activity site.

Find out for sure what you're doing on your Android devices -- or what someone else is doing on them, if colleagues or kiddos ever get their hands on your phone -- by opening Google's My Activity site. Select the option to "Filter by date & product," then select "Android" and click the blue search icon.

Just don't let your boss see that you spent all of Tuesday's meeting "working" on Words With Friends.

7. A comprehensive collection of every site you've visited in Chrome -- on any device

These days, Chrome isn't just a desktop browser -- and if you're using the program from a phone or tablet as well as a regular computer, you're bound to have quite the collective history.

See where you've been on the web (while signed in to Chrome) by opening Google's My Activity page and checking "Chrome" in the filter list. You can search for specific keywords and even filter further by date -- a useful tool if you ever need to find a site you pulled up somewhere but can't quite remember.

If you're not seeing your Chrome history on the My Activity page, go to the Activity controls and make sure the Web & App Activity toggle is on and the "Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services" box is checked. (Also make sure that you're signed into Chrome on your various devices.) Your Chrome activity will be tracked from this point forward.

As for the sites you'd rather not have recorded -- well, amigos, let's just say that Incognito mode is your friend.

8. Exactly how many Google searches you've made this month

First and foremost, Google is a search engine -- so how much are you Googling? Get the skinny by scrolling down to the "Search History" header in Google's account dashboard.

Click the header to see precisely how many times you've called upon Google's knowledge from any device while signed into your Google account in the past month -- along with a breakdown of your most common search types and some of your most frequently used queries. (Again: Incognito mode. Never forget.)

 

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