How to keep your online searches private on Google, Maps and YouTube | Tech News

How to keep your online searches private on Google, Maps and YouTube

At a time when privacy and security have become the most hotly debated issues, it is important to know how you can keep your online activity private. Check out how to keep your searches private on Google, Maps and YouTube.

| Updated on: May 16 2023, 16:14 IST
Online search
If you use Google, Maps and YouTube, this is how you can keep your online searches private. (Pexels)

We have all been through a situation where we have searched for something really private, silly or even embarrassing online that we would never want anyone else to find out. On a larger view, this is not only a question of keeping your searches accessible only to you, but also of privacy, data security and even freedom from cybercrimes. This is why there is a need to know about how to keep your privacy intact while searching online, whether it is on Google, Google Maps or YouTube. And if you are looking for the same, then do not worry. We have found the most efficient ways to hide your searches online. Let us take a look.


Google searches are an important part of everyone's daily life. Whether it is to search for nearby restaurants, the meaning of a word or to look for a particular information, we all use it a lot. However, sometimes, you might want to look up a search query that is of sensitive or private nature that you do not want anyone to keep records of.

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There are a few ways to do it.

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1. One of the best ways to keep your online search result private is to use Incognito Mode. Google does not save browsing history, cookies, site data, or information you enter in forms in this mode.

2. Other similar solutions include moving away from Google and using DuckDuckGo or These search engines do not track your activity and will never send you targeted ads based on your search history.

3. If you have already searched for something, it may appear in the search history. On the browser, you can go to Settings > Privacy > Clear browsing data to delete such information. On your smartphone, if you use the Google search widget, you can long press on a searched item and delete them separately.

You can use the same process for both Android and iOS.


YouTube is another widely used platform where we watch a tonne of videos. The other day, I was looking for videos on DIY (Do it yourself) gift ideas to make a present for my friend. However, since my friend often uses my phone, I did not want it to appear on my search results. So, what can be done in such a situation when you either want your search results to not appear on YouTube or for it to go away? Quite a bit.

1. Whether you're using the website or the app, every search option is followed by a ‘remove' option that you can click to get rid of it.

2. But that is not the only place it shows up. Your activity, including your liked videos, playlists, etc can also show up in your profile (your channel). To hide them from public view, simply go to Settings > Privacy > Playlists and Subscription and toggle on ‘Keep all my saved playlists private' and ‘Keep all my subscriptions private'.

3. Finally, if you want to also make sure that Google cannot send you targeted ads based on your search history, go to Library (bottom right corner) > History > Three button menu > Manage all history > Controls. Scroll down to find ‘My ad center' and turn it off.

4. Also, if you ever want to remove any watched videos from your history, go to history and either manually delete the videos by long pressing, or delete them all by clicking the three-button menu.

The process is the same for Android and iOS.

Google Maps

Sometimes you may also need to hide the last visited location, especially if you use shared devices. You may have been out to hunt birthday gifts and do not want to ruin the surprise, or you might be a secret agent trying to keep your identity a secret. Either way, the recent history that pops up in the search results can ruin it. However, there is a cool way to stop Google from snooping in on your search history — The incognito mode.

1. This method is specific to the mobile app since on the web version you can just go to Incognito mode and then look for directions.

2. On your phone, open the app and tap on your profile in the top right corner.

3. You'll see an option to turn on Incognito Mode there.

4. Turn it on. And now, whatever you search for will not be stored on either the device or on your Google account. The method works on both Android and iOS.

These few tips should help you in enabling a safer and more secure way of searching things online while keeping your privacy private.

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First Published Date: 16 May, 16:13 IST