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It’s no secret that Google knows a lot about its users.
The tech giant collects various user data including search history, location, and voice searches to help improve its services and provide relevant ads. However, some users might be surprised to know they can easily take a look at all of the data Google has on them.
On Tuesday, The Guardian pointed out that every audio command made using an Android phone are recorded and can easily be accessed and played back by visiting the Activity Settings in Google. The same thing can be done if you are an iPhone user and use voice commands with a Google app.
This, of course, isn’t the only thing you might be surprised to find when you take a look at your Google account settings.
In June, Google created a hub called “My Account” where users can easily view the information the company is collecting and change their settings.
Even if you consider yourself a privacy buff, it’s worth taking a look at your settings from time to time to make sure you’re comfortable with what you are sharing.
Here’s how you can view what information Google is tracking and how to make adjustments.
View all of your web and app activity data
Whether you're searching for something in the Chrome browser on your computer or smartphone or using another Google app like Maps or Now, Google is tracking your activity to help customize your experience.
Web and app activity, which includes things like your search history and activity in maps, are turned on by default on both iPhone and Android devices because they are tied to your Google account.
Here you can turn searches and browsing activity on and off. To see the information Google is collecting, click “Manage my activity.” Here you can view your surfing habits, see what device you were on when you visited certain sites, and select activity to delete.
If you want to delete all of your activity, click on the menu symbol, select “delete” then select “advanced” then choose “all time.”
For more information about how to delete searches on your computer or mobile device, check out this helpful Google support page.
Check to see if you are currently sharing your location
If you have given Google the okay, it will use your smartphone to track your location.
You can see if you are sharing this info under “Activity controls” and view exact locations that are stored for you by clicking “Manage Activity.”
Listen to audio and voice requests you have made using Google
Google also keeps a recording of voice and audio activity used for voice searches and commands. But only if a user has opted in to use the feature, as it is turned off by default.
Anytime you say "Ok Google" or touch the microphone icon, Google will save your recording.
To learn more about audio recordings Google stores visit this helpful support page.
Review your YouTube activity
Google keeps tabs on what you search for on YouTube and which videos you have watched. Like other settings, these can be managed under "Activity Controls."
You can view the day and time you searched for or watched videos, as well as the device you were using during that activity.
You can edit your searches or the list of videos you watched, or delete everything following the same steps as you would if you were deleting your web and app activity data.
It's also worth noting that Google has a privacy check-up feature that will walk you through more steps one-by-one to make sure that you are sharing data you are comfortable with. It will also help you make sure your security and ad settings are up to date.
To learn more about how Google uses your data, check out its privacy site.