Happy Delete Your Google Web Search History Day!!! (Oh, and Happy Leap Year)

I’m a horribly complacent (and pessimistic) web user. Despite Path doing shady stuff with my iPhone contacts, I downloaded their update and kept on using them. I willingly pin on Pinterest (though to be fair, I have a strong bias against repinning others’ pins if they don’t link to original content). I’ve never threatened to quit Facebook. When Google first announced changes to their privacy policy that would allow them to do something likely sinister with the unthinkable amounts of data they have about me, I hit “Dismiss.” I started seeing posts on Facebook about how to delete your Google web search history. I ignored them. As this week began, they were posted with increased frequency and increased urgency. Oh yeah. That. Maybe I should take a look. And so, yesterday I decided to give it a shot and see what all the brou-ha-ha was about.

The first two pages weren’t all that interesting. I am constantly logged into Google and use it frequently for work. My search history would bore pretty much anyone. So I clicked the little button that said, “Earliest.”

This is what I found:

February 10, 2006. My first Google search (while logged in). I searched for baby names. February 10, 2006. B-Bop was born almost nine months later. This? Was the week I found out I was pregnant with Bop. Maybe even the day. And I turned to Google to ask what I should name him.

That? Is kind of a big deal. At least to me it is. There was one other person in the whole wide world who knew I was pregnant and that was Scoot. (Cat’s out the bag for the rest of y’all now.)

And that’s the thing about privacy. I want to control who I tell what to and when. And I want to “have my cake and eat it too” by being able to use the genius inventions of others to explore and learn and probe and express without having to abdicate my rights to that kind (and other kinds) of privacy. I want it to not be too much to ask.

Google, I love you. I’ve been hanging out with you for a long time. But, please, please, I’m begging you…don’t mess this up. Understand, I’m willing to give you little pieces of information about me so you can sustain your business model. In fact, I frequently click on advertisers’ sponsored links to make you money (even when their links are the first to show up in search) in some form of backwards spite.

But, Google, you were the second person (ok, I know you’re not a person but whatever, you know what I’m saying) that I told I was pregnant. I Googled my way through that pregnancy, through my subsequent job search, through my move across the country and house search, through my miscarriage and doubts and depression and worries and absolute freakouts, through raising my kids and asking if they’re “normal,” through finding soccer leagues and dance studios and places to vacation. Google, I (stupidly? blindly? but willingly) trust you a whole lot. Please, please don’t let me down.

One thought on “Happy Delete Your Google Web Search History Day!!! (Oh, and Happy Leap Year)

  1. Al_Pal says:

    Heh. Yeah, I mostly think that google is or will be a benevolent overlord, but I eventually [before the deadline] stopped them from using my web history, too. ;p

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