FAQ: How to tell Google to forget you and make it stick

Tell me again why I want to delete my web history? And what Google would do with it?


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A post I put up Wednesday warning that anyone who has ever used Google Search has only until March 1 to delete their previous web history before it becomes part of a monstrous, permanent multifaceted customer-behavioral profile of them clearly hit a nerve with readers.

It got more response than almost anything else I've posted here except the very serious but largely unheeded warning about the coming of the prehistoric mammoth zombie apocalypse.

Fortunately, deleting your Google Search history is a much simpler problem with far less chance of being stomped flat or have your brain eaten by the prehistoric undead.

  • What's the story with the Google privacy thing? Why do people want to delete things from Google?

Google, counterintuitively for a company whose unofficial motto is still "Don't be evil," is actually quite aggressive and quite efficient about collecting information about its customers (meaning everyone who ever uses the Internet and searches for anything {meaning everyone}).

Google may not be evil, compared to the ranks and ranks of much less scrupulous snoops out there on the web.

Google, at least, admits what it's doing and isn't too covert about most of it (illegally bypassing privacy controls on Internet Explorer, Safari and who knows what else somehow didn't make the disclosure list).

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