Clearing Google searches

Reader James is concerned about what his Google search history might say about his browsing habits. He writes:

I’d like to delete specific, saved Google search entries without having to reset Safari. Is there a way to delete such cached entries individually?

I’m not aware of a method for cherry-picking and clearing select Google searches (though I’d like to become aware if anyone out there knows how to do it) so I’ll have to provide the two mass-clearing techniques I have in hand.

The first is to click the magnifying glass icon in Safari’s Google search field and choose Clear Recent Searches. This prevents prior searches from appearing as autofill entries.

Firefox includes a similar feature. Just Control-click on the Google search field and choose Clear Search History.

To complete the cleansing of your Google searches, open Safari’s preferences, click the AutoFill tab, and click the Edit button next to the Other Forms entry. Choose .google.com from the sheet that appears and click Remove. This zaps any Google autofills—even those that appear when you visit the real Google site rather than conduct Google searches from Safari’s Google field.

If you’re concerned about your browsing habits becoming public knowledge, I urge you to use Safari’s Private Browsing feature (found under the Safari menu). With Private Browsing switched on, webpages won’t be added to Safari’s history, items will be automatically removed from Safari’s Downloads window, no autofill entries are created, and searches aren’t added to the Google search field.

  
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