Search History: Flipping That Digital Stone May Reveal Interesting Things

March 12, 2018

In a turn that is just about the most human thing we’ve ever heard, just as the world is on the cusp of an AI revolution, many are starting to look backward toward simpler times. We got a sideways glance at our fear of change from a PC Magazine story, “Download Your Entire Google Search History.”

The story is primarily about why on Earth anyone would want to see everything they have ever searched for. But it also touches on our desire for nostalgia in this lightning quick era:

“Users can now download their entire saved search history “to see a list of the terms you’ve searched for,” the company said. “This gives you access to your data when and where you want… For safety’s sake, don’t download past searches on a public computer—at the library, an Internet cafe, or even a friend’s house. Save the curiosity for home.”

A search history provides a useful pool of information about the user of Google search. Among the items of data which may be available are:

Time behavior signals; that is, when a person did searches and what the topics looked for in those time periods

Topic analysis; that is, what subjects did the searcher seek and how frequently were those topics queried

Link analysis; that is, what other sites were searched when a particular site was queries.

Other useful pieces of information can be extracted from a search history. When an analyst reviews the search history of the computers used by a group of people such as those individuals working on our studies of CyberOSINT, it is possible to develop a reasonable “snapshot” or “picture” of the topics we are investigating and the particular companies who products we are researching.

If you have not probed your search history, you might find that flipping over that digital rock may reveal some interesting insights.

Patrick Roland, March 12, 2018


One Response to “Search History: Flipping That Digital Stone May Reveal Interesting Things”

  1. Anonymous on March 13th, 2018 4:41 am

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    Search History: Flipping That Digital Stone May Reveal Interesting Things : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search

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