by Kendra Mangione
February 28, 2012
Women work at laptops
in front of a Google logo
at the Frankfurt Book Fair in
Frankfurt, Germany, Oct.8, 2006.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/DAPD,
Torsten Silz, File
Google users have until Wednesday night to
change settings before their private searches merge into one online
Starting March 1, Google will turn 60 policies into one. The new policy will
let Google combine a user's searches, emails and sites accessed through
Google to create a single user profile.
Previously, data from,
...accounts were stored separately.
The new system will combined information from
the services to provide Google with a single identity for each user.
This new identity will be used for targeted ads and customized search
results, among other things.
The search engine will be able to access a user's personal interests, health
problems, age and gender with the single policy. It can also determine a
user's location based on Google Maps searches.
Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada voiced
concerns with the new policy to Google in an open letter on February 23.
However, Toronto Internet lawyer Shaya Silber says the reactions are
"overblown." He said the new storage system is not much different from the
current one. The major change is,
"the uniform policy makes it clearer for
users to understand how information is used."
The new system is simple to navigate and
understand, he said.
"Google's making it easier."
And with numerous notices posted in Google,
Google+, Gmail and YouTube,
"they're not trying to sneak a quick one
over on us," he said.
Users have until Wednesday at midnight to opt
out of the new setting. Beginning Thursday, users will be unable to delete
their Google Web History.
If a user opts out, Google will continue gathering and storing information
but all data will be anonymous for 18 months.
How to remove your search history:
Log in to your Google account.
On the right-hand side of the page,
click your email address to pull up the drop-down menu.
If you want to read more about the
policy, click "Privacy." Otherwise, click "Account Settings."
In the Services section, click "Go to
Click the "Remove all Web History"
button. A prompt will appear to confirm the selection. Click "OK."
You may also want to delete your YouTube viewing
and search history.
To do this, click YouTube on the toolbar at the
top of the Google homepage.
On the right-hand side, click your user
name and select "Video Manager" from the drop-down menu.
Click "History" on the left, then "Clear
all viewing history." Refresh the page, then click "Pause viewing
To clear search history, click "Search
History," then the "Clear all search history" button. Refresh the
page, and click "Pause search history."
Read Google's official statement