How to download your entire Google search history

Want a copy of your personal Google search history for your very own? Now you can export and download, though it's in a funky file format.

Google recently added another option to its Takeout service that lets you export data from your Google account, and the latest addition is one of the most important: Your Google search history.

Next to email, there's nothing in your Google account that's more revealing than your search history. Your personal collection of keywords can reveal the status of your personal relationship, the last time you were sick, if you're looking for a career change, and where you're planning to go on vacation.

There isn't much you'll be able to do with your search history unless you're a developer, as the archive is just a collection of JSON files. Over time, however, other search services may let you import your Google search history.

Here's how to get exporting.

Where to go

Google hasn't added search to its Takeout dashboard yet so you'll have to go to the Google History page to grab your search archive, as first noted by the Google Operating System blog.

Once you're there and signed in to your account, click on the settings cog in the upper right corner and select Download.

Next, you'll see a pop-up window with a bunch of information about your archive. Google warns that users should read the whole disclaimer as "it's not the usual yada yada"--a phrase Google typically uses for security- and privacy-related issues.

The warnings, however, are mostly common sense security measures: don't download your archive on a public computer, don't lose control of your search archive, and protect your Google account with 2-step verification so that no one else can try and download your search history.

Google also warns anyone importing their data into a new service that they should make sure that third-party also lets you export your data. Otherwise, your data will end up stuck in the new service with no way to export it.

Once you're comfortable with all of Google's warnings hit Create Archive at the bottom of the window. Google will now generate your archive and notify you by email when it's ready.

How long it will take to get that email depends on the size of your archive. Once the email arrives it will let you know you can view the files that make up your search history in Drive, or you can download them directly from Gmail.

Google creates a new Drive folder called Takeout where you can always grab your generated search archive or download it. As we mentioned earlier there's not much to see and opening the HTML file included in the archive only shows you a summary of the JSON files in your search history.

That's about all there is to downloading your search history. Give it a try.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags searchGooglesecurityinternetprivacy

More about Google

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Ian Paul

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts