Optimize Your Google Account for Privacy & Security

These days it’s almost impossible to operate in our modern, digital economy without an account with Apple and/or Google.

In this article we’ll help you ensure your Google account is setup to maximize security & privacy as much as possible.

Security

The first step is to browse over to https://myaccount.google.com/

Once logged in you’ll want to select the ‘Security’ tab to the left.

From here feel free to take the ‘Security Checkup’, but be sure to setup a secure password as well as 2-Step Authentication.

The most important thing here is 2-Step Verification. Google supports a number of methods for 2-Step verification. They can send you a text, notify your phone via Bluetooth, setup an authenticator app. However, the most secure option is a physical security key. These will run you about $40 and are the most secure option.

2-Step verification is important because even if someone gleans your password, they still won’t be able to log into your account without access to your 2nd security key.

Privacy

Google and Apple are notorious for tracking everything you do, and by default that is mostly true. However, with Google its easy to turn off most of this.

You can get to these settings via the ‘Data & personalization’ tab.

On this screen Google provides you detailed controls over your data.

I highly recommend taking the ‘Privacy Checkup’ and going through each step in detail. Through this checkup you can delete all your Google account history and configure google to continue to do so on a regular basis. You can turn off Ad Personalization, Location History, Web & App History, Youtube History, and control what applications have access to your data.

Personal Information

The last thing we want to do is make sure we’re only sharing the personal information we want to.

Click the ‘Personal info’ tab and scroll to the very bottom. There you’ll see the link to choose what other people can see about you.

The options here aren’t as configurable as the others, but at the very least you can be aware of what’s shared and anonymize anything you may need to.

Ultimately you should always be aware of what your options are. These days a Google account is practically a necessity, but you do have options to prevent it from becoming a liability.