Wiping away your Google search history is now just a few clicks away, as the search giant looks to address the concerns of users who want better control over their privacy.
On its blog today (Oct. 24), Google announced a streamlined way for reviewing and deleting your search history, all without ever having to leave Google's search tool. You could previously delete your history, but that required you to head to your Google Account page and wade into the Personal Info & Privacy section. (If you want to download an archived copy of your search history, you'll still need to do that from within your Google Account.)
Google's streamlined search history tool is available right now on the desktop and mobile versions of the company's search site that you access from a web browser. The company says it will bring the feature to the iOS and Android versions of its Google app in the coming weeks, with Maps and other Google products getting a similar update after that.
Using the shortcut to your search history, you'll be able to see what Google's been logging — terms you've searched for, links you've clicked and locations where you conducted the search.
On that same page, you'll find additional privacy tools, including ad settings and controls on what information Google saves to your account.
Here's how to access your search history from a web browser.
1. Go to Google.com. Right now, there's a prominent Control Your Data in Google Search link just under the search bar.
Should that link not show up, though, you can also click on Settings in the lower right corner of your browser window. Select Your Data In Search from the subsequent pop-up menu.
2. The top of the Your Data in Search page currently features a video explaining what exactly Google's storing on you and trying to make the case for why it needs that data. But you're not here to watch videos, are you?
Instead, scroll down to Your Recent Activity, which will show a summary of recent activity. For a detailed look stretching back months, click the All Search Activity button.
3. To delete data, scroll down a little further to Delete Your Search Activity. You can delete just the last 24 hours or everything Google's logged up until now.
4. Further down the page, the Google-Wide Controls lets you adjust what data Google saves about you.
Things are similar, if a little more streamlined on the mobile version of Google.
1. Click on the three horizontal bars in the upper left corner of the Search page.
2. On the ensuing pop-up, select Your Data in Search.
3. From here, you'll see the same information as in Step 2 of the desktop version of search, including that video.
Scroll down to Your Recent Activity to see the data Google's logging, and keep scrolling to the Delete Your Search Activity section to do something about it.