How Do I Clear Previous Google Searches?

how do I clear previous google searchesRecently we published an article about viewing recent searches on Google and why you should care. This is a follow-up piece about to how to clear Google search history and other web history on your computer.

Saved personalized searches provide a convenient way to go back and retrieve previous search results on our computer so you don’t have to waste time tracking down information you previously downloaded. But sometimes your saved searches can compromise your privacy or security, and that’s why it’s important to know how to clear your searches and web activity from any computer you use.

First off, it’s best not to do personalized searches on any computer if you don’t have administrative rights or access to delete and turn things on and off. Instead, use your smart phone, or wait until you can access your own computer.

Just as we can allow Google to save our personal web history on our Google account, we also have the preference for allowing our web history to be saved on our computer(s). But each web browser includes preferences for deleting searches or stopping searches and results all together from being saved. All the popular web browsers include a History feature in either the toolbar or menu bar of the browser where you can clear your Google search history.

What to Look For

With each browser you use, there are three features that preserve your search and history data. There’s your browser history that list all the pages you’ve visited, including files you have downloaded. Next there’s the browser’s cache, which consist of all the stored web pages, images, and other downloaded content that is downloaded to your computer. Saved caches help the computer download those saved content faster when you visit particular sites again. But occasionally or regularly clearing your caches protects your privacy and frees up space on your computer. And finally, there’s the search terms that are retained in the search field of your browser. If you have any surreptitious keywords in that list, you should know how to clear them out.

Clearing Cookies

Oh, and one more place to clear out if need be. Often times, web sites you visit will embed temporary or permanent cookies in your browser’s memory. Cookies keep track of information entered into a site by you so that information can be retrieved the next time you visit the site. Sometimes the cookies are deleted once you leave the site, other times cookies remains on your computer’s hard drive until you delete them. You can go into the preferences of any web browser and change settings for accepting cookies. You can have you computer accept cookies, Always, Never, or “Only from the sites I visit.” The latter is probably your best bet. Choosing Never is okay too, but realize that it might mean resubmitting data into sites you previously visit. It”˜s a good idea to click the Show Cookies button and see which sites have left cookies in your web browser. You should be able to access cookie data by clicking on the Preferences window of any web browser.

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how do I clear previous google searches

Clear History in Firefox

In the most recent version of Firefox, you clear your Google search history by clicking on History>Show History in the menubar, where you can selectively delete or clear all your history in the Firefox library.

how do I clear previous google searches

You can also click on Tools>Clear History, and you will taken to a dialog box where you select the items you want cleared, including Cookies and Cache. You will probably want to leave Active Log-ins and Site Preferences unchecked if you clearing History from your own computer.

clear google search history

Note also, under Tools, you can select Start Private Browsing which will stop Firefox from saving all your browsing activity.

clear google search history

Clear History in Safari

To manage clear your history in Safari, you can first go to the menu bar under History and simply click, Clear History. This will take out all your current and past download data.

clear google search history

If you want to selectively clear items in your history, select Show History. You will be taken to a collection of your down loads where you can select and delete individual items.

how to clear google search history

If don’t want to Safari to record web activity and searches, you can stop it any time by selecting Safari>Private Browsing in the menu bar. Note: you need to go back and manually disable or deselect Private Browsing if you want to Safari to resume saving your history.

In the same menu bar section, you will also want to get in the habit of clicking the Empty Cache menu item.

In the Google search field of Safari, you can clear the list of recent searches by simply clicking on the search field and selecting Clear Recent Searches.

how to clear google search history

Clear History in Chrome

Clearing History in Chrome may be slightly different fro Windows and Mac users.

Windows instructions:

  1. Click the Tools menu.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Click the Personal Stuff tab (or the Under the Hood tab, if you’re using Google Chrome Beta for Windows).
  4. Click Clear browsing data.
  5. Select the “Clear browsing history” checkbox.
  6. Use the “Clear data from this period” menu to select the amount of data you want to delete.
  7. Click Clear browsing data.

Mac instructions:

  1. Select Chrome > Clear Browsing Data on the menu bar.
  2. Select the “Clear browsing history” checkbox.
  3. Use the “Clear data from this period” drop-down menu to select the amount of data you want to delete.
  4. Click Clear Browsing Data.

how to clear google search history

Clicking on History>History in Chrome’s menu bar for Mac, will deliver a history web pages you have visited. You can click “Delete history for this day,” to selectively clear history data.

clear google search

Private browsing in Chrome for Windows and Linux users is done by clicking on Tools menu and selecting New incognito window. For Mac users, click New>New incognito window.

clear google search

Note what is said about private browsing in Chrome.

clear google search

Clear History in Explorer 6 and 7

Internet Explorer 7

  1. Click the Tools menu.
  2. Select Delete Browsing History.
  3. Click the Delete history button.
  4. Click the Yes button in the confirmation window.

Internet Explorer 6

  1. Click the Tools menu.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. Click the General tab.
  4. Click the Clear History button.

Stop History

All browsers pretty much have similar options for clearing and managing Google search history data. Unfortunately because cookies from other websites can be left on your computer hard drive, it’s nearly impossible clear all your web activity, but your best bet is switching to Private Browsing anytime you think you need to stop surreptitious web activity from showing up in your web browser and computer hard drive.

Let us know what other tools you use for clearing web activity. Has not clearing your web history ever caused you problem at work or at home?

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