How private are your google searches?

The other day I was in my car and wanted to call a local dentist. I forgot the number so I tethered my iphone to my (wifi) ipad and looked up the dentists website on google. Next day I got a spam email from a dentist in Phnom Penh offering discounted endodontic (root canal) work. This couldn’t be a coincidence, dental spam is pretty uncommon. Google will tell you that searches are not available to prying eyes and might only be available to certain types of persistant cookies in your browser. In this case I was using Safari which is regularly shutdown and its cache cleared of data.

At this stage it’s a mystery how this happened. Have you had similar situations? Write and let me know.

In your own home or place of business things are not so private, just a little hidden. People often use web browsers while being logged into their Google account, or forget it’s open. You can see this in the top right corner of the google search page. Gone is the google my search history but it is still there, just not so obvious. While logged into google type in my search history to view  your recent and past searches.

Here you can see everything you searched for starting from the most recent date, with time stamps. Over to the right you can see a calendar where you can search your search history by date. Because people don’t notice they are logged in to google all searches are recorded, and another user can sit down at the PC and see this history.

To prevent google recording searches you can simply log out of your account, use the pause button available in my search history, or regularly go in and use the clear all tab.