Now, You Can See Everything You’ve Ever Googled

Photo: Courtesy of Google.
Google remembers everything you do online. It tracks the sites you visit, the ads you click, and the words you type. All the better to see you with, dear — and all the better to serve you tailored advertisements. One of the tools it uses to customize your Google Search experience is your search history. That's right: everything you've ever typed in that search bar. And now, if you are so brave, you can download that very same history and see all of the things you've Googled, ever. To see yours, go to Google Web History, tap the gear button, and then download the file (Google gives step-by-step instructions here). There, you get a file showing everything you've searched while logged into your Google account. Once you've downloaded the data, it is sent to the Takeout folder in Google Drive. From there, you can download the files to your computer if you want a local copy. The archive is sent as JSON files, but if you open the files in a plain-text editor like Text Edit and search "query_text," you can see a list of all your searches.  Why is this data important? It shows what Google knows about you and offers insight into how the search giant is customizing your web experience compared to other users. It could also be fun, silly, or illuminating to explore your past through the lens of your Google Search terms. And, it's seems ripe for GIF-ification (à la The Washington Post) — or, if you're creative, perhaps some sort of interactive graphic of your searches? The possibilities are endless! As this information is private and unique to you, Google recommends not downloading it on a public computer (we'd suggest avoiding public WiFi connections as well). Google also stresses the importance of two-step verification to secure your account. But, you were doing that anyway, weren't you? (Google Operating System Blog)

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