MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Do you ever feel like you're being watched online?
You just looked up a flight to Europe and suddenly a bunch of ads for luggage and hotels start popping up.
I swear, sometimes I think about something and the next ad I see online will be for the very thing I was thinking about.
You're not crazy, it's simply that what you do online is being noted, but you can change that.
Today's "Lauren's List" focuses on all the things Google knows about you and how you can maybe make it forget.
Not just where you've been, but where you're going. Google can track your location history as reported by your mobile device, assuming your "location" feature is on, Rami Yermiya, a cybersecurity expert and founder and president of Dignotion, tells RD.com. You can even check your location history on a very comprehensive Google maps timeline. You can delete your location history, but law enforcement can still subpoena it, so it doesn't really go away. Google can also pull from your emails to see what trips you have coming up.
If you have a Gmail account, Google basically has access to the contents of your email. Not much you can do here except delete your account. Security experts tell Reader's Digest you can tell Google not to use your Gmails to target you for advertisements. Click on your Google Ads Settings and you'll have the option to turn off your "ads personalization".
If you click on "my activity" you can pretty much see every website you've visited and it's accurate to the minute. Google says only you have access to this information and you can delete the activity if you want. It also tracks everything you've ever searched in Google.
Of course, Google's not alone in this as we've seen with other sites like Facebook. For example, Google estimated my age and even my hobbies and interests. And it was accurate. It says it does this from data I've added to my Google account along with data from advertisers that partner with Google. Again, this helps with the targeted advertising, that you can turn off if you want.
Will you be changing any privacy and security settings on your account?
If you have an idea for a future "Lauren's List", send it to email@example.com.
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