A user’s web and search history plays an integral part in how they navigate the world wide web. Controlled by individual web browsers, the search history works behind the scenes to optimize the browsing experience. Search engines like Google also utilize a form of search history to improve the way information is found.
With that being said, the method of tracking previous web activity is not perfect. The technology has advanced tremendously since the early days of internet browsing, but there are still many negative implications that may arise. It’s important to fully understand what a search history is, how it works, and how to stay protected.
What do our blog has to offer?
Our top 10 latest posts about internet security and privacy in order to learn how to stay as anonymous and guarded as humanly possible online.
The internet has opened up the world and made it possible for people to communicate across vast distances at the touch of a button. However, web surfers still need to be careful when going online because there are many dangers present in the cyber world. There are various tools and techniques that can be used… Continue reading
Windscribe is a powerful VPN tool that allows you to surf the internet undetectably from various regions across the world. With it, you can circumvent geographical censorship or content restrictions, block annoying ads and unlock entertainment content from streaming services such as Netflix. Moreover, online hackers and surveillance dragnets won’t be able to access your… Continue reading
Launched in Toronto, Canada in 2011, TunnelBear is a multinational vpn service that’s available in more than 20 countries across the globe. The company was founded by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk, who have previous experience working at various large firms including Goldman Sachs, RIM and Microsoft. Tunnelbear vpn offers its users both free and… Continue reading
In our recent VPN speed test and journey to find the best VPN we came across GooseVPN. GooseVPN is a new virtual private network service that was developed in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The VPN is available in around 28 countries around the world, in places such as the US, Europe, Hong Kong, Israel, Australia, Singapore and… Continue reading
PrivateVPN is a convenient global vpn service based in Stockholm, Sweden. The company was founded in 2009 and was originally named privatvpn.se before its name was changed. Users are provided with big offerings such as multiple operating systems and protocols, reliable connectivity across the globe and unlimited-bandwidth among other functions. With all these great attributes,… Continue reading
Phishing is a common cyber crime that affects 1000’s of people around the world each year. It occurs when a hacker sends you a suspicious email or website with the intention of accessing your crucial online information, such as login credentials, banking details, tax information and so on. Typically, fraudsters trick you into sharing your… Continue reading
“What you know, don’t know, and did not know you do not know about VPN” If you want to know more about internet security and staying safe online, you have come to the right place. RuinMySearchHistory (this website that you’re on) has been featured on multiple publications with its unique search history tool. As featured… Continue reading
SaferVPN is a fast-growing vpn service based in Israel. The company provides network anonymity solutions to around 34 countries around the world, and has been in operation since 2013 when it was initially formed. Users can be assured of various great features such as: reliable speeds of up to 44Mbps on a global scale, low… Continue reading
We, at Ruin Your Search History Blog, have been covering the best VPN providers (including mobile VPN apps) for a while now. Now is the time to compile a detailed comparison between 10 leading VPNs trying to determine which is the fastest VPN service, and how do VPN services’ speed compare. So, without further ado, here is… Continue reading
Our website and VPN guide won’t be completed without writing about VPN apps. As the internet browsing patterns change rapidly and mobile is taking precedence in terms of popularity, the interest in VPN apps naturally grows. People are eager to figure out what is the best Android VPN and read Android VPN app reviews for the… Continue reading
What is a Search History?
Essentially, a user’s search history is a list of pages and queries used to find information. Typically arranged in chronological order, most history lists display information on the most recently visited web pages. It’ll typically provide exact time information about each page. The browser uses this information to improve navigation and make features like the back, forward, and reload buttons available.
How Does It Work?
Information about user’s browsing habits are stored a bit differently based on the particular service. Usually, web browsers store information locally on the hard disk and only provide a partial history. Many browsers only provide information about recent activity for a short period of time.
Thresholds are often used to manipulate the amount of information stored and how far back a user can look into their history. The history can be accessed and searched to find relevant information.
Search engines, on the other hand, handle the information a bit differently. Usually stored on the web, this information seamlessly connects to multiple devices via a connected account. For example, Google records web activity and search queries whenever the user is logged into the service. If they’re not logged in, the information won’t appear on the search history.
The information collected by search engines is generally more detailed and thorough. Some even provide a complete history, allowing users to take a peek at their web activity from years ago. Because the data is stored online, users can view their history from any device with a simple login. The data collected includes a number of details, such as click tracking and frequency of visits. This type of information isn’t accessible by users. Instead, it’s utilized by the service for other purposes.
Why Is It Useful?
The main reason search histories are used is to provide a better browsing experience. It gives the browser a short list of recently visited sites that it can quickly access at a moment’s notice. On the user end, finding recent information doesn’t require a typical search. Recently visited web pages are often displayed and marked with a different color to make differentiating between new and old information easier.
Search engine services utilize it to display recent information quickly. Recent search queries are presented, letting users know what terms to use in their search. Alternatively, it provides quick access to a forgotten link. Instead of going through the entire search process to find the same information, a similar query will bring up the same exact results.
Search engines also use the information for analytics that can be beneficial for the service provider and user. Services like Google keep track of how much time was spent on a particular site and where a user clicked. It also keeps track of what users in a particular area are searching for the most, allowing them to utilize search engine optimization techniques to provide the most relevant information. Basically, the information is used to shape the browsing experience to each user individually. They’ll use this information to display appropriate ads and improve the user’s overall time with the service.
Controlling the Search History
There are many ways to control what information is being recorded. Users can temporarily pause the recording of data to improve security. Furthermore, browsers and search engine services allow users to permanently delete their history. Some services, such as Google, provide users with in-depth tools to control what is being recorded and when. Specific web pages and search queries can be deleted for optimal control.
With that being said, data is being collected from multiple places. To fully control the search history, users need to access archives from the browser, search engine, and the computer itself. This includes the cache and any encrypted data stored on the hard drive. The best way to fully protect valuable data from a search history is to use strong passwords and multiple forms of authentication.
Deleting Search History
When you clear your history, your browser (Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Opera, or Internet explorer) removes your browsing records, such as:
- History of webpages you visited
- Cookies (how to disable cookies)
- Web site icons
- Download history
- Site preferences
- How to view and clear your browsing history on iPhone
- How to view and clear browsing history on iPad
Chrome for iOS
macOS (Mac OS X)
- How to view and delete Chrome history
- How to view & delete your browsing history in Internet Explorer
Disabling Browsing History
Privacy Mode or Private Browsing or Incognito Mode
Note that private browsing doesn’t offer complete secrecy and privacy but it disables browsing history and the web cache.
Disabling Browsing History
If you are seeking to be in a position where no one can track the websites you visit then you should consider a VPN. Read our articles about VPNs below:
- Best VPN Providers List
- Best VPN Mobile Apps
- Fastest VPNs in the world
- Vypr VPN Review
- NordVPN Review
- HMA! VPN Review
- Express VPN Review
- VPN Arena Review
Despite all the positive benefits a search history provides, it’s not without its problems. Security and privacy are one of the leading causes for concern. With a user’s private activity being recorded, it leaves room for security breaches.
While the data collected by search engines and web browsers isn’t published anywhere, it can be accessed by anyone using the computer. If a machine is shared by multiple users, confidential information is displayed for anyone to see. Because web history is tracked by both the browser and the search engine service being used, there are multiple ways for users to see activity.
Computer Security and Confidential Information
We voice a strong opinion against internet censorship.
Even if a computer has a sole user, the machine is at the whims of its security measures. One of the easiest ways for others to gain access is by cracking a simple password. Lost or stolen computers can provide unauthorized users to with unjust access to valuable information. Despite superb security precautions, a system is only as strong as its password.
This is especially true when it comes to search engine histories. Because this information is accessible on any device, hackers can gain remote access to an account and view the information. Confidential data is compromised, even if the user has established appropriate security precautions. Hackers can even manipulate history settings to trick users into providing more and more information.