I’ve been searching on Google since I first heard about the site many years ago and have always wanted to download all my search history and analyze it for frequency and related. Is there any way to do so?
You sound like a scientist, for sure, but I can appreciate that. There’s a remarkable pool of information in our search history, both in the aggregate — the way that Google calculates its zeitgeist, of course — and in our own specific searches over months or years. Not just about what we searched for most frequently, but when we searched. Do you search more on Monday afternoons or Saturday late at night?
Some of this information is shown in the Google Search History area (as I’ll show in just a moment) but some of it can only be identified through your own analysis. Think of the trends, though! A search for “ideas first date”, “engagement ring” then “marriage venue” then “best honeymoon” then “how to change a diaper” and “save for college” would show a life well spent!
But let’s start at the beginning before we get into one of those sort of TV spots!
You need to start at the right place, in fact. You can’t get to your Search History from the Google home page, surprisingly:
But once you do a search — I’ll search for Kate Bush, a favorite singer of mine — then part of the many new things that show up is what you want.
Search results are shown thusly:
See the “gear” button on the right? Click on it.
A menu pops up:
Choose History from the menu.
Now you’ll see all sorts of interesting data, including graphs of some of the info you’re interested in learning more about:
I find all this information fascinating. For example, I seem to like searching Google at 8am and 8pm more than any other time, and I even have some searches at 2am and 4am (what the heck? Do I sleep search??).
To download your search history from this point, however, you want to again click on the “gear” button, but this time the menu is slightly different:
Choose Download to download your search history, and an interesting message will pop up:
“It’s not the usual yada yada”. Nicely done, Google!
I definitely also recommend you have 2-step verification on your Google account [tip: how to enable Google 2-step verification] but Google is definitely treating this as highly sensitive data. That’s good.
Click on Create Archive and it actually pops up another message:
Some time later — for me it took about 20 minutes — an email shows up informing you that the archive is built:
Now you can view it in Drive or download it with the “Searches-” link near the bottom. It’s a big data file, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while.
Then you’re on your own with the analysis. Good luck and let us know what term you search for more often than any other!