Q&A Depersonalizing Google

Lenny_Fox

Level 22
Verified
Oct 1, 2019
1,125
Just noted that the old methods to depersonalize google search have been reduced more. I don't know since Google changed the default but I just happened to notice it when setting up a PC for a relative.

Some time ago when you did not sign into Google, your searched were not captured for 180 days to personalize you search results. To illustrate this, just perform the perform the following sequence of actions to check for yourself.

1. Type in your Google search in your native language, for me that is Dutch (www.google.nl), I just choose English as default language in the browser so you understand what is happening.

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2. Click settings (bottom right) and choose History
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3. Move switch to the left (turn off)
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4. Most privacy aware users have enabled "Clear cookies and website data when you quit the browser (in Cookies - Site Permissions)
When you clear the session cookies this setting is set back to default (track search history by default). Google to the rescue in action (n):cry:
Google promised to help improve privacy by blocking third-party cookies in future, but Google giveth and taketh

So Google's marketing money machine made sure that everyone using Google search (even when not logged-in to Google) gives their search history to Google (and a search is an activated need with purchase intend, so worth money to vendors selling the goods searched by everyone using Google) :cautious::cautious::cautious:
 
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Lenny_Fox

Level 22
Verified
Oct 1, 2019
1,125
One old function which seems to work (still) is searching from address bar with Google and adding the &pws=0 search parameter
(I know that used to work, but can't find recent info about it). PWS is hort for personalised web search and 0 means disable/off, so adding &pws=0 to the URL in the search engine settings of your browser tells Google to NOT track your search querries for 180 days (cross fingers). As the picture below shows, you can add &pws=0 to your existing Google search URL at the Search Engine section of your browser.


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Lenny_Fox

Level 22
Verified
Oct 1, 2019
1,125
When you search from taskbar using PWS=0 the search query looks like
1587074900825.png


But when you do the same search (test) from Google Search page (e.g. mine is www.google.nl where NL = Netherlands, but yours might be the one from your country, e,g, www.google.es or www.google.jp).

The don't personalize web search (pws=0) can't be saved when you don't log into Google. Logging into Google when browsing the web, provides Google with more big data about your searches (so that is not a good solution to keep the &pws=0 no personalization/tracking request).

When I would enter the same search query from my home page (www.google.nl) the search operators provice a lot more information without the &pws=0 search parameter as shown in the picture below

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The DEV operator for instance tells the website which position its link was shown on the search results page for instance, other search operators tell from which machine the search query was made.

Reading another thread that another extension did not clean an url (link to MT post) someone suggested that Adguard also had an option to strip URL parameters (UTM=Urchin tracking module) with AdGuard, so I decided to play with Adguard;'s stealth.

When stealth mode is enabled (in the Adguard GUI), it is applicable to all websites (except for the build-in whitelist of banks Adguard uses to prevent website breakage). So by adding an allow exception for every website (@@*$stealth), except for Google domains (domain=~google.*), I only enabled Stealth for Google domains with this one-line exception in my Rules
1587075773812.png



And enabled these settings in Adguard. Running extension in Edge-Chromium, because Google's Chrome does not allow to block Google cookies. Besides below tracking parameters I also enabled "Hide referer from third-parties" and "Hide your search querries" (Edge sends a do not track header and hides local WebRTC IP): Just enter the Google search operator withouth the &, so when you want to block&ei and &ved=, just add ved (with a comma): .ei,ved


1587100923796.png


Now the same search query looks a lot cleaner

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P.S. I also created an Adguard blocklist to strip Google from cookies and other annoyances (copy to Custom Filters as trusted).
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Lenny_Fox

Level 22
Verified
Oct 1, 2019
1,125
@Lenny_Fox How can I add 'LessAlphabet' to AdGuard Desktop?

I think I need your filter in .txt format.
Sorry only using the extension. To get it as text file just copy it from Github and paste it to notepad and save it as .txt

Disclaimer:
I copied this list from Kees1958 after he removed it from Github (you can always trackback changes, also from deleted files :)
 
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