Complete Guide to Protecting Your Privacy in Google

Online privacy is an extremely important issue when it comes to using your Google apps. Google has included a comprehensive privacy tool to help you take control of, and monitor, how your information is used by the company. This guide will reinforce your privacy rules when using Google.

Step 1 – Start by opening your main Google Accounts page, this can accessed at https://myaccount.google.com into a browser. From the main account home page, you’re able to check on the current levels of privacy, your information, and security.

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Step 2 – A good place to start is with the Take the Privacy Check-Up box – located in the lower-right of the four available boxes. Simply click on the Get Started link at the bottom of the box, this start a step-by-step guide on helping you choose the right privacy settings.

Step 3 – The Privacy Check-Up section is broken down into several sub-categories, offering you the chance to review the key settings behind the way Google controls its activity toward you, what ads are displayed, how others will connect to you, what Google Photo settings are available, and what you share on YouTube. Click the YouTube category, for example.

Step 4 – The category options are displayed as tick boxes, so using the YouTube category as the example, you’re able to control how your YouTube video likes, saved playlists and subscriptions remain private, or are available for others to view when they click on your YouTube/Google account. Read each element of the categories carefully, to enhance or lower your online privacy.

Step 5 – Going back to the main Google Account home page, by clicking the back arrow then Home on the left column, take a moment to look through the other options available. Check on the Privacy & Personalisation box; click the Manage your Data & Personalisation link in the bottom of the box.

Step 6 – The Data & Personalisation category is quite expansive, and covers a lot of the content that goes on between yourself and Google’s many services and apps. Each area within this category can be expanded further, such as Web & App Activity, Location History and so on. It’s important to take the time to trawl through these sections to fine-tune your privacy settings.

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Step 7 – To the left you’ll see the quick access column, where you’re able to navigate back to the Account Home page; click on the Security link. This will open the Security page, where you’re able to lock down your account in the event of someone gaining access to your Google password. Here you can opt for 2-Step Verification, create an account recovery option, and protect your account and its privacy.

Step 8 – The People & Sharing option – found via the left-hand column again – is worth taking a look at, too. In here you’re able to define your contacts, block any users, and most importantly, manage your location sharing and choose what personal information about you is visible to others across the Google services.

Step 9 – There’s a lot to take in when dealing with your privacy through Google’s apps and services, which isn’t surprising considering the reach Google has across the Internet as a whole. If you ever become confused over any questions, or simply don’t know where to turn next, the Help option will walk you through common issues, and offer guided steps on how to proceed.

Step 10 – One final aspect of privacy that’s worth looking up is the Google Privacy & Terms. These are in a constant state of flux, and will change depending on what laws have come into effect in the country you’re currently in. Navigate to https://policies.google.com/privacy, to view the latest Google Privacy Policy, and see how it affects you.

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David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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