What does Google know about the places I’ve visited recently? Where should I go if I have forgotten the administrator password for Google Apps? What are my interests as determined by Google? Where can I get a list of ads that I’ve ever clicked on Google?
Personally, I love that Google is so creative with my private data. I am fully aware that in order to use Google’s many great “free” services, But even if you’re like me and you’re happy with this model, it’s still very important to be fully aware of what Google collects and how you can control it.
Here are some of the most important links compiled by Digital Inspiration that every Google user should know about. They are hidden somewhere deep inside your Google Account dashboard and they may reveal interesting details about you that are otherwise known to Google.
1. Google stores a list of usernames and passwords that you have typed in Google Chrome or Android for logging into various websites. They’ve a website too where you can view all these passwords.
2. Google creates a profile of yourself based on the sites you visit, your Google+ account and other signals. They try to guess your age, gender and interests and then use this data to serve you more relevant ads. Use this URL to know how Google sees you on the web.
3. Google lets you export all your data out of the Google ecosystem. You can download your Google Photos, contacts, Gmail messages and even your YouTube videos. Head over the the Takeout page to grab the download links.
4. Your Android device may be reporting your recent location data and velocity (are you moving and if yes, how fast are you moving) back to Google servers. Head over to the Google Maps website to see your entire location history and you also have the option to export this data as KML files that can be viewed inside Google Earth or even Google Drive.
5. Create a new Google Account using your existing email address. The regular sign-up process uses your @gmail.com address as your Google account username but with this special URL, you can use any other email address as your username.
6. Google and YouTube record every search term that you’ve ever typed or spoken into their search boxes. They even keep a log of every Google ad that you have clicked on various websites, every YouTube video you’ve watched and, if you are a Google Now user, you can also see a log of all your audio search queries. OK Google.
7. You need to login to your Gmail account at least once every 9 months else Google may terminate your account according to their program policies. This can be an issue if you have multiple Gmail accounts so as a workaround, you can setup your main Gmail account as the trusted contact for your secondary accounts. Thus Google will keep sending you reminders every few months to login to your other accounts.
8. Worried that someone else is using your Google account. Open the activity report to see a log of every device that has recently been used to log into your Google account. You also get to know the I.P. Address and their approximate geographic location. Unfortunately, you can’t remotely log out of a Google session.
9. If you ever find your content appearing on another website that is using one or more Google products – say Blogger, AdSense, Google+ or YouTube – you can raise a DMCA complaint with Google against that site to get that content removed. This wizard can also be used to remove websites from Google search results that are scraping your content.
10. This is a complete list of web apps, browser extensions, Google Scripts and mobile apps that have any read or write access to your Google data. If the permission level says “access to basic account info”, it basically means that you have used your Google account to sign-in to that app.
Bonus: For Google Apps Administrators
This is important but undocumented URL for Google Apps users. If your Google Account ever gets hacked, use this secret link to reset your admin password. You’ll be asked to verify your domain name by creating a CNAME record in your DNS.
[*] Replace domain.com in the above URL with your own web domain name.