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Before you delete your Google Search history, find out what Google knows about your behaviour

Google Doodle history
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Are you going to join the growing number of people who plan on deleting their Google Search history before March 1?  Before you do delete your search history, first check to see what the big G knows about your search behaviour.

Google Doodle historyAs well as collecting your search terms and clicked sites Google has also been able to analyse the number searches you have conducted (when logged into your Google Account) and what times of day you are most likely to search.  This behavioural data can tell you (and Google) much about your digital activities.

Google Search Trends is a personalized analysis of your signed-in search activities on Google – quite simply it can analyse how often you search, for what terms or topics, and which pages you click the most.

The system breaks your search history down into your monthly, daily and even hourly activities.  This means you, and Google, can see which search terms you are most likely to visit on a Sunday or which pages you are most likely to click on at 8pm.

So what does Google know about me? According to Google’s search behaviour graphs, I conduct most searches between 9pm and 12am.  I usually stop searching from 4am and am back using Google search from 8am.

Hourly Google search activity
Hourly Google search activity

Breaking the search terms down into days Google records that I am most likely to search over the weekends, mostly on Sundays, and do the least amount of searches on Fridays.  Looking specifically on Thursdays Google says I’m most active between 9pm and 11pm and mostly search for, and visit, Google and Facebook domains.

Google daily search activity
Google daily search activity

The story is pretty much the same for monthly searches.

Google monthly search activity
Google monthly search activity

It’s questionable how useful this information is to yourself, but it does show how much information services like Google, as well as Facebook and Twitter, can gather about your behaviour.

By knowing what you are interested in, and when you are most interested in it, services like these could target highly specific ads at you.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).