Can You Really UnGoogle Yourself?

5 min read
Mar 6, 2024 6:41:33 PM

Almost everything we do online is tracked. Nowadays, keeping our digital lives private is more important than ever.

An eye-opening 82% of the websites we visit have hidden trackers, and about 40% of this tracking comes from Google.

With the rising worry about privacy issues, identity theft, and the misuse of personal information, more and more people see the need to reduce their reliance on Google not just as a precaution but as a vital step for their privacy.

Why You Might Want to "UnGoogle" Yourself

Today, it feels like we hardly have any privacy online. Understanding the "why" behind the desire to "UnGoogle" oneself. With a significant 82% of web traffic ensnared by third-party tracking scripts—40% of which is attributed to Google alone—the scale of online surveillance is staggering. 

The Privacy Paradox

Constant monitoring extends beyond mere data collection; it's about aggregating and utilizing personal information in ways that can have real-world consequences. The implications are vast and varied, from targeted advertising to potential identity theft.

The Real-World Implications

  • Targeted Advertising: While benign, targeted ads are just the beginning. They represent the more significant issue of how personal information can be leveraged to influence and shape behavior.
  • Identity Theft and Fraud: When a host of personal information is available, it becomes a treasure trove for cybercriminals who use it to steal your identity and your finances. This isn't just an inconvenience; it can be personally and financially devastating.
  • Personal and Professional Reputation: Online searches have become the default go-to for unofficial background checks, wresting control of what's out there about you in the digital realm is critical. One negative article or mention can significantly affect your personal and professional life.
  • Privacy as a Right: At its roots, the trend of "UnGoogling" one's self is about something much larger -- an essential belief in privacy as a right. It's about preserving individual autonomy over your most personal information in a world where control is increasingly illusory.

Taking Back Control

The drive to "UnGoogle" oneself is not just about removing oneself from search results; it's a statement against the invasive nature of modern digital surveillance. It's a step towards reclaiming a semblance of privacy in a world where every click, every search, and every interaction is cataloged and monetized.

Steps to UnGoogle Yourself

Making your information private and removing it from Google and other search engines might initially seem hard. But you can do it with a clear plan. Here's how to "UnGoogle" yourself in simple steps:

1. Check What's Out There About You

    • Search for Yourself: Use Google to search your name in different ways. See where your information shows up.
    • Find Where It's Coming From: Look if the info is on social media, public lists, or your websites.

2. Get Rid of Information You Don't Want Online

    • Your Own Sites: If you have control, delete any info or pages you don't want.
    • Shut Down Old Accounts: Shut down any old dating profiles, Netflix, Spotify, or Amazon Prime. 
    • Ask Site Owners: If the info is on other sites, email the owners to ask them to remove it. Be clear about what you want removed and why.

3. Delete Your Social Media Accounts

    • Check Your Settings: Go through your social media and make your profiles more private.
    • Think Before You Share: Be careful about sharing private details like your email or phone number.

4. Use Tools from Google for Removal

    • For Old Content: If something's online but doesn't exist anymore, use Google's "Remove Outdated Content" tool.
    • For Personal Info: If you find personal info that could be harmful, ask Google to remove it.

5. Opt-Out from Data Brokers

    • Find Yourself on Data Sites: Look for your info on sites that collect and sell data.
    • Ask to Be Removed: Follow their steps to ask for your data to be removed.

6. Keep an Eye on Your Info

    • Set Up Google Alerts: Get alerts for new mentions of your name.
    • Use Untraceable Emails: Sign up for a Protonmail account or use a pseudonym for your Gmail account.
    • Do Regular Checks: Every so often, redo your search to make sure no new info has popped up.

By following these steps, you can take back your online privacy and control what information about you is available online.

Making Yourself UnGoogle(able): A Simpler Guide

Trying to remove your personal information from the internet seems easy, but it comes with several challenges and important things to think about.

Why It's Hard to Erase Your Online Presence

Even if you try your best, your online presence can stick around. Your information can spread across many websites, making it hard to completely remove. Once something is online, controlling where it goes next is almost impossible.

Laws Aren't Always Helpful

Many people, about 68%, think the laws today don't do enough to keep our privacy safe online.

This shows a worldwide issue: privacy laws aren't keeping up with fast tech changes and how data is collected. Because the laws aren't strong enough, people have to take care of their privacy on their own, which can be confusing and always changing.

The Work It Takes

Trying to make yourself less visible online isn't a one-time thing. It needs continuous work.

With 86% of people trying to reduce their online presence at some point, it's clear many are concerned about their privacy online and are willing to make an effort to protect it.

What It Means for Your Digital Footprint

Controlling your online information isn't just about keeping your data safe.

It's also about bigger ideas like who you are online, your freedom, and your rights in our digital world.

As our online and real lives get more connected, being able to manage your online self is not just about privacy—it's a basic right.


Choosing to detach yourself from Google is more than just protecting yourself; it's about asserting control over your own information. The path to getting your online privacy back is filled with obstacles, including the lasting traces we leave online and the shortcomings of present privacy laws. However, the significance of this effort is immense.

Key Takeaways

  • Audit Your Online Presence: Understand where and how your information appears online.
  • Remove Unwanted Content: Take active steps to remove or request the removal of your information from search engines and websites.
  • Adjust Privacy Settings: Enhance your privacy by adjusting settings on social media and other online platforms.
  • Navigate Legal and Technical Challenges: Stay informed about your rights and the tools available.
  • Commit to Ongoing Efforts: Recognize that maintaining your digital privacy is ongoing.

The statistics are clear: most internet users are concerned about online privacy yet feel powerless to control it. But it doesn't have to be this way.

By taking proactive steps and employing the strategies outlined in this article, you can significantly reduce your digital footprint and enhance your online privacy.

Remember, "UnGoogling" yourself is not a one-time fix but a continuous effort to protect your personal information.

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