How to Turn Off and Delete Your “Ok Google” History

By Matt Klein on June 10th, 2016

“Ok Google” is a great tool that many of us might already take for granted, but did you know that Google is storing all your searches? Or, that you can go into your search history, listen to them, and delete them?

It’s no secret that a lot of people use Google and its services for a wide array of things, and in the process, Google is able to collect a dizzying amount of information from and about us.

Whether it’s just simple searches or keeping a detailed history of everywhere we go, if we’re not aware it is happening, it doesn’t take long for Google to compile a tremendous amount of information about us.

Using the Ok Google service is no different, the company actually stores every single instance of when we use it. This means whenever you ask it something, it records your voice and uploads it, saving it forever, or until you turn if off and delete it, which we’ll show you how to do today.

Deleting Your Audio Search History

To cut right to the chase, go to Google’s “Voice & Audio Activity” page for your Google Account where there is a history of every audio search you’ve conducted. You can scroll through each one, noting the transcript, and even press “Play” to hear it.

If you just want to delete a few of these searches, you can check the box next to each one, and a “Delete” option will appear in the upper-right corner.

However, if you want to delete a period such as today, yesterday, the past 4 weeks, or everything, then click the three dots in the top row of icons and select “Delete options” from the dropdown menu.

To delete everything, you need to click “Advanced” and then you can choose “All time” from the resulting selections.

Google will throw up a warning that deleting voice and audio activity may “reduce the accuracy of speech recognition”, but honestly if you’ve come this far, then that’s a chance you’re probably willing to take.

That seems easy enough, but what if you want to actually disable this and other service from recording your history? Click the three dots again and this time choose “Settings”.

On the next screen, you now see that you can turn off (Pause) voice search.

The resulting screen will display a warning telling you taking such an action will “limit or disable features” but won’t delete your existing history, which you should have already deleted.

If you don’t want to lose the convenience of Ok Google, then you probably don’t want to disable it, but if you don’t want it keeping a long history of your searches, then you’ll need to go through periodically and delete it.

Turning Off and Clearing Other Services

Note on the previous screen, there was an option to “Show More Controls”. If you click that, you can actually view and delete a wide ranging amount of information collected from other Google services.

You can click the on/off switch for each service as well as the “Manage Activity” link to view and possibly delete its history.

Of course, doing so comes with its own set of unique caveats so you may want to proceed carefully before going through and deleting everything without a second thought.

Whatever you do, we think it’s at least important that you make yourself well aware of all the information Google is collecting about you through each and every one of its services. You may not actually realize just how much information it has collected about you until you see it for yourself.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and died-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.

  • Published 06/10/16
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