How to see what Google knows about you, and delete it

How to see what Google knows about you, and delete it

Google collects a lot of data about you if you use the company’s services. To its credit, the company makes finding and deleting that data easy by showing most of it on a single website. Here’s how to see the bulk of what Google knows about you, and how to delete it if you want. 

Once you delete data from your Google Account, the company immediately starts removing it and stops using it for personalization. “We then begin a process designed to safely and completely delete the data from our storage systems,” Google explains. It may be forced to keep some information for legal requirements, which you can read about at the link above.

Google Accounts

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Google’s My Account website is the starting point for seeing the company’s stored data about you.

The primary starting point to see what information Google has about you is the My Account website. From here you can find the information you’ve supplied, as well as data the company gathered in the background.

The My Accounts site offers a set of tabs at the top, as well as some informational tiles covering topics such as security and privacy issues with your account, how much available storage you’ve used, and a quick link to the personalization section.

You could go through each tab, but to target our purge strategically we’ll stick to the tabs at the top. We’ll also be jumping around a bit to deal with the sections where the most critical personal information lies. 

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The Personal Info section on Google’s My Account website.

The easiest place to start is the Personal info tab. Here you’ll see listed information such as your name, nickname (usually your first name), birthdate, gender, backup email addresses for account recovery, and phone numbers. Click anything in this section with an arrow to the right, and it will take you to a screen where you can manage this data.

Almost all of this information can be deleted, or if not it can be changed. The key bits Google insists on having include your name and nickname. If Google has your birthdate this cannot be deleted, but you can change it and restrict who is able to see it. You also cannot change or delete your alternate usernames if you have any.

Click on the link Go to About me in the “Choose what others see” tile toward the bottom of the page. Here you won’t delete information, but rather choose who can see it across Google’s services.

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