Sunday, March 20, 2011

View your Google Search and Web History

Although I have been retired from education for a couple of years I still follow a number of educators via their blogs and on Twitter. I learnt something new from Chris Betcher at Betchablog today that I think is worth sharing with fellow genealogists.

Chris wrote "Many people don't realise it, but if you use Google's search services while signed into your Google account (which you already have if you use Gmail) then your entire search history is automatically archived for you, along with statistics about how often you searched, for what, and when. It will track how many times a day you've Googled something, and even displays a little colour coded calendar to show you your overall search patterns. Some people may find the whole thing a little scary, a little Big Brother-ish maybe."
 
As I'm not too good at recording every site I visit in a genealogy research log this history will be a useful research management tool for me. As I am usually logged into Google when I use my computer it should keep an accurate record.

To find my personal search history I did a Google search for  "my google search history" and was directed to my secure personal history page that gave me information about the searches I had done today and yesterday. At the most simple level your web history is limited to searches. My searches for today are shown in the image below.


A clickable calendar on the page allows one to select any date to see what searches were done on that day.
 There is also an option on the web history page that allows one to "Expand your web history" Clicking on this takes one to a page with this information:

"All the web sites you visit, at your fingertips.

  • View your web activity. You know that great web site you saw online and now can't find? With Web History, you can.
  • Search the full text of pages you've visited. Web History allows you to search across the web pages, images, videos and news stories you've viewed.
  • Get personalized search results and more. Web History helps deliver search results based on what you've searched for and which sites you've seen."
As I love to try things out I downloaded the latest Google Toolbar that is necessary "to associate the web pages you visit with your Google Account." I then selected the "Enable Web History" option.

As a test I visited three websites and then went back to view my web history - the three sites were listed with the time I had accessed them.

I will monitor this tool over the next few weeks and, if I decide it's of no use, I will turn it off but I suspect that I will find it a useful tool.

2 comments:

Chris said...

What a great use of the tracking history. I'm glad you find it useful and I'm happy that I was able to point you to it.

Chris

Geniaus said...

Chris, I find so much of use to genealogists in the blogs and tweets of my old teched colleagues.

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