Save & manage search activity (FAQ)

Web & App Activity (WAA) in the Google Admin console is going away starting June 14, 2022. At that time, users can start saving and managing their search activity using Google Workspace search history. When Google Workspace search history is on and search text is entered in the search bars of Gmail or Google Drive, suggestions from search history appear for quicker searches.

Initial Google Workspace search history settings mirror WAA setup. If WAA is off, Google Workspace search history is also off. Users can still use WAA for additional Google services that you enable for them, but it’s off by default for new Enterprise users. For most new users (not Education users under 18) Google Workspace search history defaults to on.

Note: Google never uses data from Google Workspace Core Services for advertising. For details about restrictions for users under 18, on this page see Google Workspace for Education.

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What to expect

Users can turn their personal WAA or Google Workspace search history settings on or off or update preferences from the My Activity page. Further in the future, Google Workspace search history might encompass search in more Google Workspace services besides Gmail and Drive.

How long does Google retain Google Workspace search history data?

By default, Google deletes this data after 18 months. Users can configure deletion periods of 3, 18, 36 months, or never.

What’s the difference between WAA & Google Workspace search history?
  • Currently, as an administrator, you control who uses WAA across Google services by turning WAA on or off in the Admin console. There is also a separate user WAA control.

    When you’ve turned the WAA admin control on and your users enable the user WAA control, your users' search history is stored so they get more personalized experiences across all Google services that you’ve enabled in the Admin console.

  • Google Workspace search history is a user control. When it’s launched, your users can turn it on or off. If it’s on, your users can collect their search history so that they get quicker searches in Gmail and Drive.

    For more information, go to Turn on or off additional Google services.

Will existing WAA search data be available in Google Workspace search history?

Yes, user searches from Google Workspace services stored in WAA transition into Google Workspace search history when it launches.

Can users delete or opt out of Google Workspace search history?

Yes, users can see and delete search data or opt out of Google Workspace search history. For details, go to Let users turn their settings on or off.

Why is this change happening?

We are removing the WAA Admin console setting and launching Google Workspace search history because:

  • As an additional Google service, Web & App Activity data is not subject to Google Workspace data processing commitments.
  • Google Workspace search history data is part of Google Workspace core services and is subject to the Google Workspace data processing commitments.

    For more information, on this page, see Data protection & privacy.

  • When Google Workspace search history is launched, it will be a Google Workspace core service, and Google Workspace users will be able to configure their own Google Workspace search history setting. Users can continue to configure their Web & App Activity settings for any additional Google services that you, as the admin, enable.
Who controls a user's search history?

After the launch, users control WAA and Google Workspace search history.

How can I control the search history for additional Google services?
  • As an admin, you can turn additional Google services on or off as needed to control search history settings. You can also restrict access to these services using organizational units or access groups.
  • When Google Workspace search history is launched, the personal WAA user control only collects search information from additional Google services that you, as admin, enabled.
  • Users who have WAA enabled will continue to have their searches and activity from other Google services saved to their Google Account.

Related topics

Do admins have any control over the Google Search history setting?

Yes, as an admin, you can turn the Search and Assistant setting on or off for users to control search history data collection for Google Search. For details, go to Turn Search and Assistant on or off for users.

How does Google Workspace search history differ from the smart features controls?

Smart features provides region-specific controls for data processing and sharing. Google Workspace search history enables users to save and manage their search activity. For details, go to Smart features.

How can I or my users learn about Google Workspace search history?

When Google Workspace search history is enabled, on the My Activity page at How Workspace search history works, you can select one of the suggested topics or click Hide FAQ to access information about search history. Users also see an in-product message that their Google Workspace search history is enabled.

Data protection & privacy

Google Workspace search history is part of the Google Workspace core services and is subject to the Google Workspace Agreement. Google never uses your data in Google Workspace core services for advertising.

Does Google Workspace search history affect Google’s GDPR compliance?

Google Workspace search history does not affect our compliance with the European Union’s (EU) Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There is no change to how Google Workspace data is collected, managed, or provided to users. Google Workspace search history is subject to the Google Workspace Agreement.

Related topics

Is my users’ search history available for advertising?

No, Google never uses your data in Google Workspace core services for advertising.

Review additional Google services if you're concerned about WAA data being collected. Consider restricting access to these services using organizational units or access groups.

When Google Workspace search history is enabled, what data does Google use?

Google Workspace search history includes search activity in Google Workspace services and is subject to the user data protections that Google Workspace provides. Google never uses your data in Google Workspace core services for advertising. Users can delete their search data, export it from their accounts, and opt out from data collection.

Google Workspace for Education

Google Workspace search history is turned off by default for Google Workspace for Education users under 18. Users can turn the setting on. For more information, go to Control access to Google services by age.

Let users turn their settings on or off

Have your users follow these steps.

Google Workspace search history

  1. Go to the My Activity page.
  2. Click Other Google activityand thenGoogle Workspace search history.
  3. Click On or Off.

Web & App Activity

Visit Find and control your Web & App Activity.

Related topics

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