Toolbar Privacy Features
March 1, 2012
The Google Toolbar has some basic features that work automatically any time you use the Toolbar. Other features are optional, and only operate and transmit data if you choose to enable them.
Basic Toolbar features
- The information sent to Google during the use of basic Toolbar features does not ordinarily contain personally identifying information. However, it is possible for data that usually contains no personally identifying information to contain such information in certain cases. For example, if your search query contains personally identifying information such as your name or address, then the URL request sent to Google will contain this personally identifying information.
- If you navigate to a URL that does not exist, the Toolbar may send the URL to Google so we can help you find the URL you were looking for. If you disable the "Provide suggestions for incorrect or unavailable URLs" option through the Toolbar Options window, this information will not be sent to Google and suggestions will not be shown.
- When you type URLs or queries in the Toolbar search box, the letters you type are sent to Google so that the Suggest feature can automatically recommend search terms or URLs you may be looking for, and the Instant feature can automatically show results for popular searches that begin with those letters. You may disable Suggest and Instant through the Toolbar Options window; if you disable Suggest these letters will not be sent to Google, suggestions will not be shown, and the Instant feature will automatically be disabled. You may disable Instant while Suggest is enabled; however, the letters you type in the Toolbar search box will still be sent to Google unless you also disable Suggest.
- Google Toolbar includes one or more unique application numbers that are not associated with you or your Google Account. These numbers are sent to Google when you install or uninstall Google Toolbar, when the Google Toolbar periodically contacts our servers (for example, to request automatic updates to the software), and with Toolbar usage statistics (if enabled).
Optional Toolbar features
- If you enable the Toolbar synchronization feature, an optional feature that stores your Toolbar and browser setting information with Google (including AutoFill information, if you have enabled AutoFill), this information will be stored in association with your Google Account.
- If you enable the optional AutoFill feature, which automatically completes web forms for you, the Toolbar will send Google limited information about the structure of pages that have web forms and information such as the arrangement of the form so that we can improve our AutoFill service for that page. While the information Toolbar sends may include the fact that you typed in the form, the actual text that you type in the fields will not be sent to Google unless you choose to save that data with your Account using the Toolbar Synchronization feature.
- Web History in Toolbar is no longer supported and no new Google Web History information is recorded from Google Toolbar. Learn how to remove items saved through Toolbar from your Google Web History
- Some features may also send data to Google at the time of use. For example, Translate and Spell check work by sending the text you choose to be translated or spell-checked to Google. If you have enhanced features enabled (as described below), using the Translate feature will also send the URL of the page to be translated back to Google.
- The My Location feature allows Toolbar to determine your approximate location based on your local network information, including details about nearby WiFi access points and/or the nearest router connected to your computer, and share that location with websites you choose. Websites that want to access your location must ask your permission, which you can grant or deny.
- If you enable the My Location feature by granting a website permission to access location, Toolbar will periodically query Google for your current location. In order to determine your location, Toolbar will send Google the hardware IDs (i.e., MAC addresses) and SSIDs of WiFi access points visible to your machine, the hardware ID (i.e., MAC address) of the nearest connected router, and the signal strengths of nearby access points. If you disable the My Location feature, this information will cease to be sent.
Enhanced Toolbar features
- Toolbar's enhanced features, such as PageRank, and the +1 Button operate by sending Google the URLs and other information about sites at the time you visit them.
- If you provide credit card information to use Toolbar's AutoFill feature, that information will be saved on your computer in encrypted form. It is not transmitted to Google.
- Any Toolbar feature that works by automatically sending Google URLs or other information about sites when you visit them, or that associates data with your Google Account, can be disabled or re-enabled as explained in the Help Center or simply not used.
- You may view the list of items you have +1'd on the +1 tab on your Google profile (https://profiles.google.com). You can remove individual items from that list.
- If you do not wish for the Toolbar to send usage and configuration statistics as part of its periodic requests, you can disable usage statistics following these instructions.
Further information about the Google Toolbar is available in the Help Center.
For questions concerning the product or your account, please check out the Google Help page.