Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

If an account is being shared, then Google has no way of knowing who is at the keyboard. I explore how search history works and what might be found there.

I have a Gmail account and my web history was activated. However, I share this account with someone and I'm wondering if they ever went in to view the web history section, as I have just viewed it for the first time myself only recently. Is there any way to tell if someone has checked the web history section in the past?

In this excerpt from Answercast #13, I talk about how Google identifies users in an account and how the web history feature might surprise you.

A history of your web history?

No. At least, not that I'm aware of.

When you are logged into your account, I mean if you're sharing this account, Google makes no differentiation between you and the other person. Google simply doesn't know. You're logged into this account with "Your Account;" you're doing what you're doing... Google can't see whose fingers are actually at the keyboard.

Google tracking

The real issue here is: it's important for people to realize that this feature exists.

If it is something that you are concerned about, I would strongly recommend that you go and turn off the Google web search history.

I do have an article on it. It's actually an older podcast of mine called, "Google's web history might surprise you."

Check out the Google History feature

In fact, if you go out to, you may find that a lot of your activity over the past weeks, months, or in some cases, years has been associated with your account and recorded. If that bothers you, if you're sharing your account and there are things there that you don't want other people to see, then you can turn it off. You can erase it.

What a lot of people don't realize, however, is that erasing it doesn't mean that Google doesn't still know. This is all information they keep; it's part of your account.

The only thing that the web history interface does is expose it to you. Erasing only removes it from view, which (especially if you're sharing the account) might be exactly what you want to do.

Article C5275 - April 30, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

1 Comment
Andy Pettigrew
May 1, 2012 10:17 AM

Share a G-Mail account? What for? How much does an account cost? These people must have a very special relationship such that they'll split the cost of a free account. What am I missing here?

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.