How to clear your online browsing history

We browse a lot of websites and our computers and mobile phones are used to collecting a lot of data about us. One of my friends asked me how do we clear the history and thought I would write this post to help!

When we watch a video on youtube on our computer or mobile phones (or tablets or any other devices), the application stores some of our interests on what we are looking for and they look to help us out by recommending similar videos or information. The search engine and the application analyses these interests and relevant information / content that has been shared by other parties on these / similar topics and recommends them to us.

If we have searched for a high back chair or seeds online on our computer, and then we log into facebook or youtube or any other apps, we naturally see that there are products from different retailers selling these specific items coming up as ads. Sometimes, the ads keep coming not knowing when we have moved on – and that is when it becomes frustrating. Be it a chair or a social cause, every individual needs to have the choice to want to continue / discontinue their online search. So, sharing some tips around it.

In the current scenario, we need to evaluate these aspects for every app on our mobile devices

  1. Understand the nature of what information the apps collect and make a conscious call about using them or using / discontinuing their use.
  2. Understand the legal regulations in our country / zone before installing / using apps and uninstall those that have a legal implication

Tips to help reduce auto-recommendations

  1. Log out of your email while using apps like youtube. This helps not maintain your browsing history. You will no longer get auto recommendations based on your search results across devices, but if you have moved on from a social issue and the recommendations continue to be pouring in, it helps clear your browsing history and start afresh.
  2. Ensure you log out of all devices at home. Usually, most of us are logged in on our TV, mobile devices, computer and our network wi-fi captures the browsing history and continues to share recommendations across the entire network. So, first log out of all devices and from one device login and clear your browsing history and then use the other logged out.
  3. Even when we are logged out of our emails and use the apps, the browsing history while not tagged to our emails will still be collected to offer recommendations. If you do not want a set of topics coming up under auto recommendations any longer, delete the app and re-install it. That should help clear the history.
  4. In some apps, the personal settings can be adjusted to store / not store browsing history and usage. You can check and update them appropriately.
  5. If you feel those around you have moved on from a social issue and you still are getting recommendations about that on your devices and are not sure whether it needs continued focus / involvement or should you move on as well, would suggest that you make your choice not based on the recommendations seen online but try to look for an authentic source that publishes the correct information and not media / TRP driven channels and make your call based on the information and talking to those in your circle.

How do we clear our browsing history on our computer.

Open a chrome web browser and press the keys Ctrl and H together. You will get a screen like this. Click on “Clear Browsing data” seen on the left side

You will see a popup window displaying the information below.

You can choose the time range of history to be deleted (Last hour, Last 24 hours, Last 7 days, Last 30 days, All time). Choose one of them and “Clear data”

The advanced tab has more information that is stored. Choose the time range and what you do not want to store on the computer and clear that data as well.

Browsing data, browsing history, cache are some of the keywords used by different apps to store the information. Check on your app and delete the data.

You get to choose what you want to browse and whether you want recommendations over a period of time or not. Make it a conscious choice about storing or clearing your browsing history and frequency.

Talking to a friend I realized the impact and upon request writing this post.

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