How valuable is your search history? How would you feel if somebody else could see everything you’ve searched for in the past few months? One Google user was surprised when their search history wound up in someone else’s account. In this case, the problem was user error:
A couple of months ago, l was pitching our product to a VC in a coffee house in Palo Alto. He wanted to compare LeapTag to Google Personalized Search, so he logged in to his Google account from my laptop. We had a nice discussion.
A week ago, I received an email from him asking me if the following searches were ones I made recently, and he included a list of searches.
My jaw dropped! Those were all searches I made a mere half an hour earlier – two months after our meeting.
I realized that he had never logged out of my laptop, and that all the searches, personal and professional, that I had done for the last two months using my laptop were now part of his search history. He had access to all of it – as if it were his. Now who owns what?
My search history is of little value to me. On the other hand, I expect my search history to be private. Time to go fiddle with my browser settings and my Google account settings to reflect those priorities.
You should read Nelson Minar on this topic as well. He explains how to turn off your search history (with Google).