Can I See What Google Knows About Me?

Updated: August 22, 2022
Can I See What Google Knows About Me?

How to Check What Google Knows About You and other Commonly Asked Google Search Questions.

Ever wondered what information Google knows about you? It’s a common question we get asked at the Edge Marketing team. From seasoned digital marketers to eCommerce business owners alike, a lot of search engine users want to know exactly what type of information is tracked, and stored, about their online behaviour.

If you’re among the many who want to deep dive into exactly what Google knows about you, where you can see what information has been collected, and how you can choose or limit tracked and stored information, read on. We’ve collated some of the most commonly asked questions we get from our community about Google’s data tracking powers and how you can see what Google knows about you online.

FAQs: Can I See What Google Knows About Me? And Other Common Questions

From changing algorithms to updated search engine optimisation best practices, keeping up with Google feels like a full time job. Whether you’re involved in the online landscape day-to-a-day, or simply want to better understand how you can control your privacy and security online, we’ve summarised the most commonly asked questions the Edge Marketing team get about Google’s data tracking powers.

Have you wanted to know if you can see what Google knows about you but were never sure where to begin? Read on.

  • Google Searches

In 2022, you would be hard pressed to find someone who has typed in a Google search request before. While some users opt to use the search engine function without logging into an associated Google account–many do, and get curated results to boot.

The service that delivers this curated content is called Web & App Activity–a Google-owned feature that collects search terms and browsing activity in Google apps to make search suggestions and offer personalised results.

If this sounds good to you–carry on! If it doesn’t know that all Google users do have the option of turning off Web & App Activity. Once turned off, users will be able to use the search engine as per usual but forfeit recent searches or personalised recommendations.

  • Google Maps

Did you think that hiding out in the bush removed you from Google’s grasp? Think again. (Kidding. Sort of.)

If you’ve used Google Maps to help navigate your way–both city centre or off-the-grid–you’ve allowed, even for the interim, Google to access your location information. Some smartphone users will have modified their app permissions and location tracking to only allow access when the app is in use. For others, they’ve allowed–intentionally or otherwise–for the app to track their location data wherever they go.

While this may not be the right choice for all users, there are benefits to allowing Google access to your location history, including curated search engine suggestions, based on physical location history. For search engine users who have ever gone looking for local accommodation, hospitality providers, or a car mechanics team, you’ve likely appreciated receiving suggestions based on your Google activity–instead of another recommendation far away.

  • Google Analytics

Not in the online marketing landscape?  Some everyday Google search users are unfamiliar with a key backend service called Google Analytics–and for this, they can be forgiven.

Most often activated and accessed by digital marketers, search engine optimisation teams, and eCommerce or business owners, this service tracks user’s individual website activity, including overall website visit duration, pages accessed per session, and bounce rate.

At a macro level, the platform collates information about all ad and website visitors to assess the types of traffic visiting and viewing the content, their online activity, demographics, and, sometimes, pre-emptive and post-visit behaviour to create a broader profile of their visitor’s interests as a whole.

While this may sound intrusive to some, Google Analytics is one of the most popular ways product and service providers, marketers, and eCommerce come to better understand their customers and digital visitors to offer more tailored content, products, and solutions.

Among the most commonly tracked Google analytics at an individual user level? 

  • Duration of visit per website and individual page
  • The website/s visited directly before and after the targeted website
  • Basic demographics including gender, age range, country, and/or city from where the visitor was ‘most likely’ visiting from. (We say ‘most likely’ knowing some online users opt to use a VPN–a Virtual Private Network that allows them to disguise their demographic location when browsing online.
  • Whether you’re a new or returning user
  • Purchase amount (for eCommerce portals), most commonly or recently viewed products, and average sales spend

Sounds good? Carry on! Some users prefer having their online behaviour analysed, within reason, to deliver a curated and relevant browsing experience. Doesn’t sound great to you? Read on to learn how you can customise what information Google sees and stores about you.

  • Searches and Complementary Platforms

Have you ever typed in a YouTube search? We thought so. Purchased by Google in 2006, there’s a reason why you log into YouTube with your Gmail or Google account. (Both of which–Google and YouTube–are subsidiaries of Alphabet INC.) Enabling the search engine provider to recommend curated YouTube searches based on your recent search history, previously watched content, and behavioural analytics, one of the ways Google and YouTube create a tailored user experience is by tracking your data.

This isn’t limited to YouTube history–among the many complementary services that can be informed based on your Google-based behaviour, Google’s suite of suggested apps include other online service providers who are reviewed by Google, and a third-party provider, before being included on the Google Marketplace. For an app to be suggested, it must integrate well with Google’s existing platforms, pass strict security protocols, and maintain their assessment for value, security, and quality at least once per year.

(That said–it’s worth noting–some of these apps are also in commercial relationship with some of their suggested app providers.)

Among the many, Google users can find: Slack, Asana, Zoom, Zapier, Podcasts, Google Calendar, Invoicing softwares, and Microsoft Teams. All of this is to say–for users who have opted in, or logged in, to Google Marketplace integrated apps using a single sign-on function connected to your Google account, chances are likely that the Terms and Conditions indicate both Google services and the third-party service provider are collecting some of your information and keeping it stored.

How to Review Your Google Data

Regardless of the pro-data collection or anti-data collection side of the fence you’re on, we believe that all users can best benefit from the digital landscape when they are in control of their experience. To do this, it’s vital that consumers understand how, and where, to review which data Google can, or cannot, track about you online. To review your current data, privacy, and security settings, we recommend:

  1. Logging in to your Google account. You can do this using an ‘Incognito Browser’, if preferred.
  2. In the top-right corner, click the 3×3 square dots to open a drop down window of commonly used Google services.
  3. Selecting ‘Account’.
  4. From the navigation menu, you can review your personal settings in:
    1. Data and Privacy
    2. Security
  5. If you’re interested in the topics frequently mentioned above, we recommend reviewing Data and Privacy to confirm your settings related to:
    1. Web & App Activity–including search history
    2. Places you’ve been (location history)
    3. Information you share with others
    4. Information you share with apps and associated services
  6. Want to confirm which third-party apps have access to your Google account information? Click the ‘Security’ tab to review which apps you have given permission to access some of your data.
  7. Want to clear the whole slate? Navigate through each of the tabs and remove permissions (or Turn Off) Web & App Activity, your search history, location history (Google Maps), apps with permission to your Google account, and personal information.  For those interested in completely clearing their content from Google (or related search engines) read the next section below about browsing incognito–remembering, that all online activity should fall within the cybersecurity legislation in your district.

Finally, after making any changes–always remember to click Save!

Removing All Information Google Search Sees About You

Interested in using Google as your preferred search engine without any stored information or data tracking? We recommend turning off all tracking functions, clearing your browsing history and activity for ‘All time’, and logging out of your account.

From here, your best bet is likely to use Google both in a private browsing tab and logged out of your account whenever using the platform or associated service and app providers. This means you won’t be able to access or revisit your search history or recently visited pages.

Just remember–there could be legislation specific to your area that regulates safe browsing activity. Even if you choose to browse privately and without a logged in account, please consider the local legal requirements that define legal activity and know that there are few ways to prevent Google, or other internet services providers, from hiding all search results.

Changing Your Privacy Features On Google Services

Changing your privacy settings in Google is an incredibly personal choice. While YouTube search users prefer having their search histories followed to create result recommendations and target ads, others may not. Which camp you’re in is up to you–or may be guided by your workplace settings, in the event you’re browsing from an organisational account.

Regardless of your take on the matter, knowing what data Google sees about you and how you can adjust your privacy and security settings to reflect your preferences is key. Like we said–we believe that all users will have a better online experience when they are informed and armed with the steps needed to make these changes for themselves.

Follow For More Google Data and Online Marketing Material

Have more questions about how Google collects data, online privacy, and targeted marketing? You can follow along with the Edge Marketing blog to learn more about SEO, best online marketing practices, and how to be an informed internet user.


Mira -

Head of Paid Media

1300 558 659 -

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