How to Hide From Google

Reducing your digital footprint on the world's search giant

Young woman hiding behind laptop computer
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Google seems to be heading towards omniscience at a fervent pace. Relevant search results are at the heart of what Google does, and it has gotten very good at its core competency.

Want to learn what Google knows about you personally? Find out for yourself. Go ahead, Google yourself. Try Googling your name, address, phone number, and your e-mail. See what comes up. Chances are, you will find that Google knows a lot more about you than you think it does.

Here ​Are a Couple of Tips to Assist You With Googling Yourself:

Encapsulate Search Terms in Quotation Marks

If you're not getting relevant results, try putting double quotation marks around your name. Try several variations of your name such as "Firstname Lastname" or "Lastname, Firstname".

Search a Specific Domain:

If you want to search a specific website or domain for information about yourself, add site: followed by the domain name.

Now that you know some of what is out there about you, your next question is probably: what can you do to make the information private or have it removed from Google search results? How do you hide from Google?

While you can't vanish completely, you can reduce your digital footprint a bit if you so choose to.

Here Are a Few Tips to Help You Hide from Google:

Hide Your Home From Google Maps Street View

It's a little creepy to think about it, but Google has likely driven up right in front of your house and taken a picture of your home from the street as part of the Google Maps Street View project.

This view can provide criminals with visual reconnaissance of your property so they can learn things such as where your doors are, how high your fence is, where gates are located, etc.

If you would rather not have your house shown on Google as part of street view, you can request that your house be obscured from view.

It's basically the digital equivalent of throwing a tarp on your house. Check out the article on Google Street View Privacy for details on how to request to have your property removed from both Google Street View and Bing Street-side views.

Remove Your Phone Number from Google

Just a short time ago, if you found that Google had your phone number listed in their online phone book, you could have requested that your phone number be removed. According to About.com's Google expert, Google appears to have gotten rid of access to their entire people search phone number lookup, so there doesn't appear to be any need to request that your number be removed. For full details, check out the article on the issue.

Use Google Dashboard to Globally Edit Your Privacy Settings

Google has made it fairly easy to modify your Google account-related privacy settings across the Google enterprise by the creation of Google Dashboard. On the dashboard, you can modify what Google shares about you. With Google dashboard you can manage settings for services including: Gmail, Youtube, Picasa, AdSense, Google Voice, Google+, Friend Connect, Google Docs, and other services as well. To access the Google Dashboard visit https://www.google.com/dashboard/‎.

Use a Personal VPN

Another great way to make yourself more anonymous to Google and other search engines is to use the anonymizing capabilities provided by a personal Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN services, once a luxury, are now commonplace and highly affordable. You can obtain personal VPN service for a small amount. There are many other benefits to using a personal VPN service besides anonymous browsing. Personal VPNs also provide a wall of strong encryption that helps to thwart hackers and others who might be trying to eavesdrop on your network connection. To learn more about the benefits of using a personal VPN, check out our article on Why You Need a Personal VPN.

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