Before you read, please remember that it is not good to spy on people without them knowing – unless they are jerks.
- Do you want to know what other computer users that use your computer are searching for?
- Do you share one computer with on logon account?
- Are you suspicious on what other computer users have been searching for?
- Does the other computer user clear there browser history after they have finished Googleing to clear their search history so you do not find out?
- Do other computer users not know of Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome and IE 8 Private Browsing Mode?
- And they use Google as their default search engine?
If you answered Yes to all of the above, then you may be able to see what other people have been searching for with a little help from Google. (However, we must enforce that it is unethical to spy on people of what they do on the computer without their prior knowledge and we do not condone this.) Ok, so what am I getting at here? Lets set the scenario. You share a single computer with a housemate, family member, friend etc and your becoming suspicious on what they are using the computer for. Every time you go to surf the web, the other user has deleted the browser history and you have to re-log back into all your favourite sites such as TechMan Help or StuNews. You are now wondering what they are doing while your away but they have covered their tracks. Or have they? I can confidently say that most people who look up stuff they’re embarrassed about will clear the browser history and active login sessions after they have used the computer and not before. If you want to know what they have been searching Google provides you with a solution that will bypass and record what they have Googled even when they clear their browsers history, cache, active login sessions and cookies when they’re done. What you need is a Google Account. You can create one free at https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount. Create a new account (it is recommended that you do it, otherwise they can access your Gmail account and other Google Services) or log in with your existing account. Make sure you tick the box saying Remember my Login. This makes sure that when ever you or someone else open your browser, you will be already logged into the Google account you made. You now have to activate Web History. Do this by click on My Account when your on www.google.com. Under Try Something New, click on Web History. If it is not there, click on more and located it.
You now have to click on Enable to enable Web History. Once you have done that, what ever you search for using Google will be recorded. (Note: You can disable web history later and delete records, but I will not cover that now)
When the other person uses the computer, chances are that they do not clear the browser history before they start searching. If they do, they may clear all active sessions which will log you out of Google and this will not work. When they have finished their searching, they may clear their search history. But since Google Web History have been recording their searches (if they didn’t log you off first), then they can not clear this history because you need to re-log in to view your web history. Once you’re back on the computer, and they’re off it, log in to Google Web History and see what they have searched for. You can do this by visiting Google, click on My Account, then click on web history.
You can now browser the search history, view daily search results and how often you use Google to search. It also records the Sponsor links that you click from advertisers.
As I already mentioned, if the other user is smart, they may noticed the email address that is on the top right hand corner of Google. If they notice this, then they may log it off, but if they’re an average, non-tech savvy user, then they might not realise that things may be recorded. For this to work successfully, you need to be remain logged into Google at all times.
Before you go ahead and use this tip, I do not endorse that you record what other people do on the computer without their prior permission. The main idea of this is to let you know how easy it is for people to spy on you. If you want to go one step further, and see the actual webpages they visit, then you can install the Google Web History Toolbar but I will not cover that today. Do you use, or have you thought about using Google Web History to spy on people, or do you do something else? Discuss in the comments.