Google March 1 Privacy Change: How to Clear Your Search and Web History

On March 1, Google’s new unified privacy policy goes into effect. That also means your search and web history results will be combined with those of all other Google accounts you have. Don’t like it? Here’s how to delete your Google search history results before the March 1 deadline. After that, it’ll be too late. Special thanks to Greg Voakes and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the tip.

Like it or not, Google on March 1 plans to implement its so-called unified privacy policy. The goal, says Google, is to combine all its privacy policies from its various properties into one.

A side effect, though, is that Google on March 1 will combine all of the search history it has on you with all your various profiles from Gmail, Google Docs, Google+ and other services to better target ads at you.

If that’s not cool with you — it isn’t with me — here’s how to clear your search history before the Google March 1 privacy policy change up. Do note that deleting your results in effect just pauses their collection — and you do have to do this for every Google service to which you belong.

Further, your records are still available for law enforcement and Google hangs onto everything for 18 months, according to its terms of service. For more information, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s excellent article on this.

Back in 2006 the EFF published this white paper with six tips for retaining your privacy in the face of search engine collection. EFF reps say it remains relevant. Find that here.

First sign into your Gmail account or other Google ID. Then, type in or cut and paste the following into your browser bar:

Hit Enter. This will display the following screen.

Click the option to Remove Web History. Google then will display whether you want to clear all your web history for the account you signed in with.

Hit OK.

That’s it. Special thanks to our Eric Mack, Greg Voakes of Hacker College and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for pointing this out.


  • I’d not call Google evil but I’m just not comfortable with this kind of thing, so I’ve no longer any accounts with their services. I’ve long since understood there really is no privacy online and providers need to pay their costs and generate a profit, but there is just so much tracking, curating, and targeting that I’m at ease with and I am compelled to hold my boundaries.

  • Really, Robert? That is difficult to do. We have a good infographic on the site about how online privacy on social networks is largely illusory.

    The googleverse permeates … it’s nice to hear that someone out there still cares about privacy. I’m considering deleting my Facebook account …

  • Thanks for the info. I know there is no expectation of privacy on the net really, but you don’t want to just hand out
    On another note. Don’t delete your Facebook! That’s where I get good info like this from you.


  • Retaining your privacy online is getting extremely difficult to do now but that does not change the fact that our privacy should be respected when we are online or in public. I find that it is all moving too fast and we really have lost control of it. There are things we can do, but it is really difficult to figure out what we must do to keep our privacy and we have to do a lot of work to stay on top of it because it keeps changing so quickly.

    Personally, I would not bother deleting your Facebook account, if that is even possible. What I would do, is delete your Facebook cookie immediately after every visit because otherwise, just about every web page you visit from then on will report your visit back to Facebook. It does mean that you will have to log back in on your next visit, but the way things are going, this frictionless sharing they offer comes at too big a price for my liking. Login using your Facebook account on other websites is another thing you should not do of course. This is such a huge topic that I wish the EFF or someone else would take on the battle for us so as individuals, we could understand how to practice safe computing.

  • Do you need to clear your web history with Google if you do not have any accounts with them like gmail? I do use Google for searches of course. I also have a facebook acocunt

  • Whats the big deal? Wouldn’t you prefer to have more targeted ads? If i look for car insurance on google.. and on youtube I start receiving car insurance ads.. whats wrong with that?

    You’re acting like google is doing this big nefarious thing.. Well lemme tell ya.. its all about evolving.. People who complain about this sort of stuff are just wacks who really don’t think things through.. Tell you what, I wish television ads programmed stuff based on the shows I watched.. Then I’d be seeing cool commercials about zombies from walking dead and cool things about Game of thrones when it comes back.. Who cares..


    Funny I heard about this when You and JCD were on twit,, so i looked into it ,, I was not surprised fo find I had already told Google not to track me ,, i have never turned on Web history,,, some how when the question was first posed to me ,, i thought HMMMMM? Why would i want them to track my surfing lol

  • I have already deleted my Facebook account. Did this about 4 months ago. Changing over to zoho dot com for email and deleting all Gmail accounts of of March 7, 2012