Email and Search Make A Bad Cocktail
Signing in to Gmail does far more than just grant you access to email. The internet giant lets you enjoy all sorts of great features with a Gmail account. Some features might be more desirable than others however. Let’s take a look at what all happens after you sign in.
Gmail, after all, is operated by Google, the search master. After signing in to Gmail, you’ve signed in to Google itself. This means that your search history is saved, personally, under your email address. Currently, Google claims to not share this potentially embarrassing information with anyone. But at this point, all your queries are their property, and they are welcome to do whatever they wish with them.
In case you still want to enjoy the many awesome features associated with a Gmail account, there are two incredibly quick and simple ways to ensure search results are not logged under your name!
Method 1 – Sign out!
The easiest thing to do is to simply sign out once you’re done checking your email. Just click your email address at the top right of your inbox. A ‘Sign out’ button will be in the bottom right of the little box that pops open. It’s always a good idea to sign out once you’ve finished on any website. You never know who’s going to be using the web browser after you [even on your own computer!].
Method 2 – Disable
If you just can’t bear to sign in every time you check your email, or if you know you’re going to forget, Gmail actually allows you to “pause” search history storage. This pause is equivalent to a cancel button, as I clicked pause about 6 months ago and am still searching anonymously. Seeing as it is phrased as “pause”, I recommend checking once a week or so, to make sure your searches still aren’t being logged. If you’re searching for especially sensitive or embarrassing results [whatever happened to the Backstreet Boys, for example], it might still be a good idea to sign out and use one of those private browsing windows.
Method 3 – Private Browsing Windows
Most web browsers now have ways to mask at least some of your identity online. Google’s Chrome dubs it “Incognito”, Firefox and Safari cleverly call it “private browsing”, and internet explorer labels it “InPrivate”. This “Private” mode doesn’t guarantee anonymity however. If you sign in to Gmail after entering private mode, your information might be tracked. The private mode is mostly for keeping the sites you visit out of the history stored on your computer.