Google March 1 Privacy Change: Clear Your YouTube Viewing and Search History

On March 1, 2012, Google will put into place its Unified Privacy Policy. That will integrate all the varying privacy policies from multiple Google services into one, making privacy easier for users to understand, says Google. It’ll also combine all your viewing and search results for its various services. You have two more days to clear this out before the March 1 deadline. Yesterday we showed you how to clear your Google search history. Here’s how to clear and pause viewing and search history in Google YouTube.

Google is moving to its new so-called Unified Privacy policy on March 1. We ran a how-to gallery on how to clear your Google search engine history yesterday. But you have to do it on all Google services to which you belong, also. Here’s how to clear Youtube viewing and search histories before the deadline.

Google reps say its new policy will make it easier for you to understand its privacy policies by having the same one for each Google service. And there are a lot. While the privacy policy will be clearer, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the end effect will be that it combines all your search and history for all Google properties so Google will be better able to aggregate data and serve it up to advertisers.

Some people could care less. But I do. So here — and special thanks to the EFF for this tip — is how you clear YouTube Viewing and Search history before the March 1 deadline, beyond which there is no return.

First sign into Youtube with your account and password.

This displays your YouTube channel. Click on the icon with your username on it at upper right.


Click on Video Manager, second from the top on the right-most menu.

Now click the History bar.

Now select the option to Clear all viewing history.

And then click Pause viewing history.

Now click Search History, below the highlighted History button at left.

Now hit Pause search history.

Remember you’ll have to do this for all Google services you belong to. According to Google, this technique will partially anonymize your data for 18 months — law enforcement will always have access to it, but after 18 months it’ll be mostly gone. But now you’ve cleared it before the March 1 deadline.

Thanks to the EFF for providing this timely tip. Do it now, if you’re going to, before you forget!

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina Smith

Based in San Francisco, Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist online, in print, radio and national TV. A former tech correspondent for ABC News, Gina founded aNewDomain with John C. Dvorak and Dr. Jerry Pournelle. Email Gina at and follow her @ginasmith888 and on Google+ through her page at +Gina Smith.

  • Robert Bigelow

    Hi Gina. I’ve since deleted my Facebook, Google+ (before the deadline), and Twitter accounts for privacy – and other – reasons. I’ll stay in touch from here. I’d be happier to pay a service in lieu of them aggregating and disseminating my user information to third parties and I do with these: the SDF Public Access UNIX System RadioParadise and Dreamwidth Their business models do not include disseminating user information to third parties. Have a good week. Robert.