What do your personal Google and Facebook files contain? | New

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Would you like to know what’s in your Google file? What if you could find out what Facebook knows (and shares) about you? Videos, blogs, photos, contacts, comments, likes, tweets, website visits, link clicks, YouTube item views, search terms and results Google and, yes, Facebook posts, are all built to last forever. “Once on the Web, Always on the Web.”

To download your Google file, visit http://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout and sign in to your Google account. If you have multiple Google Accounts, like many people, you will need to sign in and go through the process for each account.

After answering a few questions, Google will create an “archive” of all your data. Choose from the many Google services you want to include including GMail, Google Maps, Calendar, Google Chrome, Classroom, Contacts, Google Drive, Streetview, Photos, Youtube, Search, and more. can click to download my file. They warn you that it may take a long time (up to about a day) to receive the link, although mine was ready in about an hour. After you get the link and click on it, it might take a while for the file to download as they can be huge at times. Be prepared to wait.

The file will be downloaded in .zip format. On a Windows PC, right-click the file and select Extract All. Go with the default location and click on Extract. On a Mac, double click on the .zip file and it will be extracted. In the long list of extracted files that is made, double click on the one called index.html to read your file.

Google cautions that downloading your personal information file is not the same as deleting it. As far as I know, the only way to delete your file is to close your account and shut it down for good. It’s a pretty drastic decision, but if anyone wants a “fresh start”, with a presumably clean Google Folder, this might be what needs to happen.

To get some semblance of control over what private information Google may or may not have, visit myaccount.google.com and run both the security check and the privacy check. You’ll want to carefully review each section here, including the “My Business” section to turn the situation around to your advantage.

Facebook keeps track of almost everything you’ve done on its playground, and you might want to find out what’s there before someone else does.

To upload your Facebook file, log into your account and, in the blue Facebook toolbar at the top, click on the little triangle at the right end. From the menu that appears, select Settings, which is near the bottom of the list, Settings & Privacy, then Settings, again. Then, on the left side, click on “Your Facebook Info”.

You will be presented with a long list of different types of information that you can view, manage, copy, and download. It can be a little intimidating, but stick with it. If you really want to know what Facebook has on you, here’s how.

Create a folder in which to save all of your various items, including the ones you get from Google. Then sit down, start reading and get ready; you may not like what you find.

Dave Moore has worked in computer consulting, repairs, security, and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer security workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 919-9901 or at www.davemoorecomputers.com.


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