5 tips for protecting your privacy on Google

google privacy
Credit: Google

Want to make sure that your Google data is safe and secure? I've got five tips to protect it.

Take the Google Privacy Checkup

The Google Privacy Checkup helps you review and change the most important privacy-related settings in all of your Google services. You'll decide what to share from your Google+ profile, and choose whether to have Google track your location history, YouTube search and watch history, Web history and more. You'll control the kinds of ads you see as well.

Review Google-connected apps and sites

You can make your life easier by connecting your Google account to apps and other Web sites. This makes logging in to apps and sites easier, and lets them exchange data with Google. But the more sites you connect to your Google account, the more likely it is your data could become compromised. There's a good chance you've forgotten how many apps and sites connect to Google. So head to the Account Permissions page, which shows all the apps and sites to which you connect, and lists what kind of access each has to your Google data. It's easy to revoke the connection permissions for any app or site. Click it and then click "Revoke access" from the right side of the screen.

Turn on 2-step verification

You've heard people lecture you about the need for strong passwords, and you've probably ignored them. So here's an even better way to protect someone from breaking into your Google account: Use 2-step verification. When this is turned on, when you log into your Google account, not only will you need a password, but you'll get a one-time code sent to your phone --- and you'll need to use that code to log in as well. To turn it on, go to Google's Sign-in & security section, scroll to the "Password & sign-in method" section and turn on 2-step verification.

Head to My Account

If you want one-stop shopping for checking all of your security and privacy controls, head to Google's My Account settings. Google just launched this site, and it'll be worth your while to spend time here. Virtually everything you need to know about your data and settings are here. Take some time to click around -- you'll come across settings and data you had no idea existed.

Download an archive that shows what Google knows about you

Perhaps the most important things that Google knows about you are your past searches and the content you've browsed in Chrome and other apps. Wonder what's in them? You can download an archive of them. Head to your Web & App Activity page, click the options icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select Download. You'll be able to see your archive it in your Google Drive, or via email. For more details, see "How to download an archive that shows what Google knows about you."

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