How to search your Google search history

By

Google is watching, all the time. Turn it to your advantage.
Google is watching, all the time. Turn it to your advantage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

How many time have you tried to remember that site where you read that thing last week? A million, probably. And how many times have you found it? Less than a million, for sure. But did you know that you can use Google to search only sites that you have visited?

You can, and it’s awesome.

Use Google to search your personal browsing history

This feature lets you use the power of Google to search your previous searches. It’s like your browser history, only with better search — and with your Google searches included.

It’s not just your search history, either. The results also remember all the pages you visited by clicking on a Google result.

To search your own history, go to Google’s My Activity page. This will show you a list of your recent searches and visited pages, with a search box at the top. Something like this:

Google search remembers everything you do.
Google remembers everything you do.
Photo: Cult of Mac

As you can see, Google remembers everything you search for. To search within your searches, as it were, just use the search bar at the top of this list.

At any time, you can tap or click on Details.Search to see more info on your results:

See exactly when you searched in this panel on the Google My Activity page.
See exactly when you searched in this panel.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Pretty neat, right? And also pretty scary. You’ll only be able to see your search history if you’re signed in to Google, but who ever really signs out of Google? That means anyone who uses your computer, iPhone or iPad can see your entire Google search history.

Stop the Google tracking

Thankfully, you can put a stop to this. You can tell Google to stop recording your history. In truth, your searches are probably still logged in Google’s impossibly large mass of data, but there will be no external access to it. To manage your search activity, head to your Google Activity Controls page:

Switch everything off on the Google Activity Controls page.
Switch everything off right here.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Scroll down and you may be surprised at the information Google remembers about you. Your location history, for starters. Also, your searches, your YouTube searches and activity, plus “contacts, calendars, apps, and other device data” if Google has access to those things.

There’s a switch next to every one of these sections to let you deactivate your various saved histories.

You might find that you want to just stick with your regular Safari browser history, but there are some advantages to using the Google version. Especially if you use different browsers on different machines.

And if you don’t like it? Well, at least now you know where to go to switch it all off.