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Secrets We Don’t Let Our Friends See But Share With Google


In this digital era, a quick search on the internet will answer any of your questions or cure your curiosity. For example, when is the next solar eclipse? What is the distance between the USA and New Zealand? Does a black hole exist?

People search online because the internet has the answers (the next solar eclipse is on April 8th, 2024). However, another reason is we don’t like sharing our problems or queries with others. This raises the question: Is it okay to share our issues and questions with Google?

A popular VPN service did a survey to ascertain the kind of information people search for online and if they are afraid of sharing with others.

Here is what we found out.

  • Millions of Britons are embarrassed to let others see what they are searching for online. 40% don’t want others to see their naughty search history, 37% say it reveals a private side they don’t want to share, and 40% fear sharing their stupid thoughts.
  • The top 10 online searches
Weather 43%
Directions 36%
Height and weight conversions 31%
Meaning of certain words 29%
Diagnosing a physical illness 28%
Financial tips 25%
How to make a drink or meal 25%
Cures for a physical condition 21%
Finding out about public holidays 18%
Best places to eat 15%
  • Others will be embarrassed if the following online searches are exposed
Mental health 31%
Physical problems 28%
Lack of knowledge 19%
  • The people we wouldn’t want to see our unfiltered search history
Parents 60%
Friends 53%
Partners 45%
Colleagues 27%
  • Less embarrassing but common topics we would search online rather than ask friends or family
Weather 39%
Directions 32%
Weight and height conversions 26%
  • Why do we search online instead of asking our loved ones
Convenience 55%
The internet has more data 44%
Confidence in getting the correct answers 32%
  • However, we somehow value advice from family and friends regarding relationships.
Look online instead of asking the dearest 20%
Search for search advice 13%
Research how to date 7%

Survey: What Britons search online and why

ExpressVPN did a survey with 2,000 people in the UK to find out how they frequently search online and their motivation to do so.

  • 4.1 is the average number of searches per day.
  • 49% of the respondents wouldn’t stay for a week without searching for something on the internet.
  • 70% said they feel more comfortable looking for answers online than asking their friends or family.

Survey question: to what extent do you agree or disagree. ‘I feel more comfortable searching for tricky questions online than turning to friends and family’

The following were the answers:

Strongly agree 39%
Somewhat agree 34%
Neither agree nor disagree 26%
Somewhat disagree 14%
Strongly disagree 9%

This shows the greater convenience and accuracy online search engines present. But, of course, looking for driving directions or the day’s weather on the internet is easier than asking friends or families. Conversions of metrics and the meaning of words were the subsequent popular searches.
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Furthermore, personal detachment from online searches is also a major consideration. For example, in the survey, 23% said that they looked for answers online because they couldn’t or weren’t ready to discuss the subject with anyone. Also, 20% said that the query might be embarrassing, like relating to an ailment.

Do people trust Google with our secrets more than our friends

Unsurprisingly, the surveyor turn to the internet for answers we would prefer to keep private? 40% of the respondents said that they had used Google to search for things they wouldn’t want anyone to find out.

Also, 35% said they don’t use Google, while the rest are unsure. Apparently, over 60% of the respondents said they wouldn’t search online if they knew their search history would become public.

Survey question: How worried are you about how much tech companies can know about you based on your browsing history?

Very worried 23%
Somewhat worried 56%
Not very worried 31%
Not worried at all 14%

Since Google sells user data, much of which it collects through searches, people’s concern of not trusting big tech companies with their information is valid. Fortunately, you can take specific measures to reduce the data you share online. For example, in our survey, 29% said they never wipe their search history, but more than 40% said they have nothing to hide.

  • 40% said they don’t delete their search history because they have nothing to hide

Increase your privacy when using the internet

Apply the following measures if you want to stay private while searching for answers to your questions online.

  • Use a privacy-conscious search engine like the Tor browser or DuckDuckGo, which will not save your search history.
  • When using Google, don’t sign in with your Google account. This prevents Google from matching your search history to you.
  • Use the incognito (or private browsing).
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    Although this won’t stop Google from tracking you, it will prevent cookies from revealing your identity. This will stop people close to you from seeing what you have searched online.
  • Wipe your entire Google search history on your device and Google. As a result, Google won’t save your search activities.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN). Although a VPN won’t stop the search engines from tracking you, it will prevent your ISP from seeing the sites you access online.
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    In addition, it will conceal your IP address and location from the apps and websites you visit.
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