Question: "How do I clear previous Google searches?"
If you've ever used Google to search for something, you know that the Google search field (whether it's the the Google search box, the Google Toolbar, or your browser address bar) keeps a running tab of what you've searched for. As you keep searching, Google suggests search terms based on the first few letters of your previously searched-for terms in order to save you a little time. This is very helpful; however, if you search for something, ahem, "adult", and your boss/spouse/child searches for something with similar letters right after you, they could be able to see what you were searching for.
Answer: Your Google searches are considered private, but you'll need to take steps to make sure they stay that way, especially on a public computer or a computer that is used by more than one person. You can avoid a potentially embarrassing situation simply by clearing your previous Google searches whenever there is something you would rather keep to yourself. Here's how you do it:
Clear Your Browser Address Bar
At the top of whatever Web browser you are using, there is a field called the address bar. This address bar does keep track of your browsing history, but it is not maintained by Google. In order to clear this search history, you'll need to follow instructions for your specific browser:
- How to Manage Your Browsing History in Safari
- How To Clear Your Private Data In Firefox 3 For Windows
- How to Manage Your Browsing History in Internet Explorer
- How to Clear Your Private Data in Google Chrome
Clear Your Google Toolbar
If you have the Google Toolbar installed, clearing search history is a snap:
- First, click the arrow on the right-hand side of the Toolbar search box.
- You'll see a text link that says "Clear History". Click on that, and your previous Google searches are instantly erased.
Clear Your Searches from the Google Home Page
If you use Google's home page to search for something, you'll notice in the dropdown window that searches are saved, just like in the browser address bar and Google Toolbar. These searches are populated from both your browser history (which we've already covered in this tutorial) and Google Suggest, a feature that "suggests" relevant search terms based on what you've already typed in. In order to clear your search history from the Google home page, you'll need to do two things:
- Clear your browser address bar search history by following the steps for your specific browser outlined in this article.
- Turn off Google Suggest via the Google Preferences page. Scroll down to the 'Query suggestions' section, and select 'Do not provide query suggestions'. Click 'Save', and you're all set.
More about Web Privacy
If you're concerned about your privacy and security on the Web, here are a few resources that can help you become more secure:
- How to Guard Your Web Privacy
- Ten Ways To Keep Your Search History Private
- A Practical Guide to Kids Safety Online