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Is your data safe in the cloud?

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Saturday, March 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Question: I know everyone is pushing the cloud, but I don't trust it. Is my data really safe when I put it up there?

Answer: For the most part, yes. The more popular cloud companies — Dropbox (iTunes/Android), Google Drive, Amazon, etc. — have advanced servers that you can usually trust for reliability. You're much more likely to have your own computer crash than for those companies to have a total server meltdown, although the occasional outage isn't unexpected. Now, you do have to worry a little bit about security. Between hacks on high-profile sites and companies like Google giving your data to law enforcement, you might think twice. However, that's true of any online service, and you're just one out of millions of users. Just make sure you know how a company responds to these privacy concerns before you use any of its services.

Q: I heard that Google keeps my search history. Is this true? Can I delete it?

A: Yes and yes. You can find what sort of history Google has on you at history. You might have to sign in with your Google account to see everything. Click the check box next to any item and click “Remove item” to get rid of it.

Once your information is removed, click the gear icon in the upper right corner and choose Settings. Select Turn off your Web history to stop most of Google's recording. However, Google will still keep some things for its own use. To stop it completely, switch to a more anonymous search engine like DuckDuckGo.

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