A computer user poses in front of a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Brussels May 30, 2014. Google now allows you to download an archived list of everything you have ever searched for. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Google now allows you to download an archived list of everything you have ever searched for.
The tech giant has been working on the feature since last year, but it only gained wide-spread attention after it was reported by an unofficial Google Operating Systems Blog last week.
The downloadable collection comprises of terms users have “googled,” including information that may be more sensitive, such as medical symptoms or the names of blind dates.
“You can download all of your saved search history to see a list of the terms you’ve searched for,” according to Google’s website. “This gives you access to your data when and where you want.”
The list does not stop at Google’s search engine function. It also includes documentation of searches within users’ email accounts and addresses that may have been typed into Google Maps. The range of personal information available has given rise to concerns over the databases’ potential vulnerability.
Google has said the company is aware of the dangers associated with storing an extensive amount of personal information on home computers and warns users with a message before they download their entire search archive, asking users to “please read this carefully, it’s not the usual yada yada,” normally seen in warning messages.
“If you have decided to take your data elsewhere, please research the data export policies of your destination,” the message reads. “Otherwise, if you ever want to leave the service, you may have to leave your data behind.”
Step 3: In the top right corner of the page, click the icon and select “Download.”
Step 4: Click “Create Archive.”
Step 5: When your personal archive is ready to be downloaded, Google will send you an email. You can then view the archive in the “Takeout Folder” of your Google Drive. You can also choose to download the list as a zip of JSON files onto your computer.