Google now lets you download your search history

The company had previously let users view their search history, but this is the first time it's providing a download tool.

Now what you can see what you searched for on Google years ago. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Google has a new offering for those interested in knowing what they searched for long ago.

The search giant has added a feature to Google accounts that allows users to download a copy of their past searches. The feature, which was discovered over the weekend by an unofficial Google blog, exports all of a person's Google searches to Google Drive and then allows them to be downloaded from there. The searches are saved in a ZIP archive with files that are categorized by year and quarter.

Google has been offering a tool that lets users view their search history for a long time, but the company has never actually provided a download tool. There have, however, been some workarounds for those who wanted to download search history. This is an official tool from Google that allows for that.

According to the unofficial Google Operating System Blog, the company started testing its download feature last year. The feature is part of a broader push on Google's part to make data owned by its users readily available to them. Other prominent companies, including Facebook, have also made it easier for users to access their own content in recent years, responding to calls by critics and rights activists to give users easy access to the content they own.

Accessing a user's Google search history requires the person to have a Google account. Once the archive is created, Google presents a warning, telling users to "carefully" read a statement on the data. That statement tells users to not download the search archive on a public computer to maintain privacy. Google also says users should use two-step verification to safeguard the data and limit a third-party's ability to access their search information.

In order to download your Google search history, head to the company's search history page and click the cog button at the top-right. Users will see an option for "Download." The archive will then be added to their Google Drive and immediately download the files from there.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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