3 ways to start your year with a digital clean slate

File photo: In this photo illustration, a Facebook logo on a computer screen is seen through a magnifying glass held by a woman in Bern on 19 May 2012. (REUTERS/Thomas Hodel)

Here is a solution for the New Year for 2018: de-clutter your digital history. Your computer stores a large amount of browsing data, and in places you’d never think to look. This careful chronology makes you vulnerable to cybercriminals and advertising trackers. The solution: eliminate.

Here are three ways to cover your tracks, with the help of two of the largest services on the internet. You’ll be amazed at how closely these companies to follow you, but you can do even more surprised how much control you have over. Later, at the end of this post, do not miss the delete your search history on your phone.

1. To clear your Google search history

Google’s mission is to know everything, so few are surprised that the world’s most famous search engine keeps close records of your browsing history. This may seem innocent at first — your

computer remembers the web sites you visit, so it’s easier to access them later on, right? What is the big deal?

But here’s another way to look at it: The tech giant knows everything you have ever searched for. If you have a Google account, the company’s archives — not only on your computer, but in its own databases. So you can’t just erase your search history of your browser and hope for the best. Google still knows all.

Speaking of tracking, many people are not aware that Google also tracks your physical location. You can see where you are going and when you go there on a map. Click here for more information about the Google tracking feature you didn’t even know you turned on.

The good news is that you can remove all of that data, and you do not need to storm the Googleplex headquarters to do it. Instead, you can clear your history from the comfort of your personal computer, thanks to a little feature called “My Activities.”

Google has dozens of basic features, and most people would never notice this option. But if you click on My Account in the upper right corner you can My Activity >> Delete Activity. A small screen will appear and you can Remove it by the Date field to All the Time. Google is making every effort to remind you how beneficial your search history, but you now have the option to remove all of this data for good.

Click here for a more detailed description of these steps, along with visual aids.

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2. Deleting your Facebook search history

Would you believe that Facebook holds the same kind of records as Google? If anything, Facebook data, such as clubs and hobbies, it is even more personal, because of the treats that we share with our social network.

Facebook mines when you have looked up an ex or a neighbor. If someone access to your account, even by accident, that the information is fully available.

Facebook keeps track of where you are logged in. You can clear. Facebook also tracks you in photos. You can find all photos tagged with you. For this information on your Facebook account, click here for the steps together with other hidden Facebook settings to check.

Fortunately, you can wipe your Facebook search history with a few clicks. To clear past searches, log in to Facebook and go to the upside-down triangle in the upper-right corner. Click on Activity Log. The activity log is where Facebook tracks your actions on the site.

In the left column of the Activity Log, under Photos, Likes and Comments, click on the More link. Then Scroll down and click on

the Search link. Here you can see a list of all Facebook search you’ve ever made, organized by date. You can searches individually by clicking on the symbol of a circle on the right side.

Then click Remove in the window that appears. To clear each search, click the Clear Searches link at the top right of the list.

Click here for illustrated instructions.

3. Use a secret search engine

Google has hundreds of millions of users all over the world, and the company’s name has become synonymous with “finding information.” But do not forget, you do not need to use Google. Just as convenient as the service is, there are other ways to navigate on the web.

DuckDuckGo has a mission to provide the users information and to avoid the personalized search results. The search engine contains useful calculators and other tricks, and you can customize the interface with shortcuts for search, and a Direct Answer.

You would be surprised by the quality of Instant Answers, that easily rivals Google’s Knowledge Graph. You can also DuckDuckGo is an extension of your browser to enable more privacy settings to clear your search history as protected as possible.

Click here to check out DuckDuckGo.

Ixquick which calls itself the world’s most private site search, not record your IP address, browser information or search history. The real magic of Ixquick is the “search by proxy” – function. This means that websites have no idea what the IP address that you used. If a customer is browsing their pages, you’re basically invisible. This feature has the potential to slow down your searches, but that is a small price to pay for people that their privacy is our top priority.

Click here to Ixquick.

Bonus: Keep track of your browsing history on your own phone

Browsing the web on your computer can leave a lot of breadcrumbs, but many people are more cavalier about their phones. So much correspondence, banking and social media flow by the typical smartphone, and much of that information is tracked.

In the meantime, you collect a wide range of cookies and temporary files, and this will be reflected in the advertising that appears on your phone. These ads say a lot about your browsing history, and they are visible to anyone who catches a glimpse of your phone.

How can you clear your browsing history and safe your privacy? That depends on the device you are using. Below are the steps, but they might be something different for you, depending on the version of the browser you are using.


Apple’s default browser, Safari. You are not able to clear your browsing history directly with Safari; you have to do is via the gadget settings. Here is how to do it:

· Open Settings

· Tap Safari

· Scroll down and select Clear History and Website Data

· Tap Clear History and Data to confirm

Google Chrome

If you are not using Apple’s default browser, there is a good chance that you are using Google Chrome. Here are the steps to clear paper jams in the Chrome history:

· Open Google Chrome

· Open Settings

· Tap Privacy > History

· Tap Clear on device History

· Tap to Erase the device History to confirm

· Open Google Chrome

· Open Settings

· Tap On Privacy

· Tap On ‘Clear Browsing Data’

· Select what you want to delete, and then tap on ‘Clear browsing data’ (in red) at the bottom. Tap Clear browsing data again to confirm.



To clear the history in Firefox, follow these steps:

· Tap on the horizontal lines icon at the bottom of the page

· Tap Settings

· Go to Clear Private Data

· Select the items you want to delete

· Then tap on Clear Private Data – this generates a pop-up menu warning you that this action cannot be undone

· Tap OK to confirm



Opera is a lesser known web browser, but some of you can be used. Here are the steps to clear the history:

· Tap on the red “O” at the bottom of the browser

· Tap Settings

· Go to Clear. You can get specific items such as cookies, or saved passwords, or you can be All

· Tap Yes to confirm

What questions do you have? Call my radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. Of the buy of an opinion to the digital world problems, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2017, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at

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