Google Caches Screenshots of Every Search Result on Android; Here’s How to Access or Disable it

Unfortunately, there's no incognito mode here..

by: - Last updated on: July 25th, 2017

It’s no secret that Google stores every bit of information you allow it to access – places you’ve been to, commands you’ve spoken, and image screenshots of searches you’ve made. Wait, what? Yes, in addition to saving all of your search history, Google’s smartphone app also preserves every result you’ve viewed in the past week, albeit locally.

recents google app

The search engine leader, not long ago, updated its app with a feature called “Recents”. It essentially retains screenshots of search results you’ve viewed. That’s not all, the app even stores each follow-up link you’ve visited allowing you to access the information later without trying to recreate or locate the particular, for instance, restaurant address or something else. Definitely useful when you want to revisit without having to search and find the exact link all over again.

Screen Shot 2017 07 24 at 2.17.01 PM

The “Recents” functionality lives under the third tab (make sure you have the updated version) on the Google app or can also be accessed from the menu available by swiping right from the left edge. It represents your recent searches and results in the form of swipeable cards with the timeframe on the bottom. You can tap the individual card for executing that query again or swipe up to remove the entry. If you went beyond the list of links, the screenshot will have a little blue icon at the bottom right along with the number of additional views in that stack. You can also delete each of them separately.

disable recents android google app

For completely disabling this feature, tap the three dots present on the top right corner. From there, turn off the “Enable Recent” option. Another trait of this tool you should be aware of is that deleting cards from here doesn’t mean they will be removed from your search history as well. Furthermore, the “Recents” tab will only contain searches you’ve made solely through the Google app, not the browser or on the desktop. Perhaps, Google will extend its abilities to work across platforms soon. Lastly, these items are being cached on your phone, hence you can access it offline as well. Neat.

The company has been consistently adding features to its mobile app for luring in users to spend more time on it. Unlike before, the application’s interface has been divided now into three sections and contains a personalized news feed as well. However, that’s currently limited to the United States. Saving screenshots of your searches might feel like Google is crossing a line, although, at the end of the day, it does augment the experience and eliminate the need for multiple searches for the same data. Make no mistake; this isn’t as much a privacy issue as it might seem at first glance. The searches are auto-saved anyway (unless you have explicitly disabled it), but it can creep out some people to find their non-incognito searches being stacked along with the results in such an easy-to-find manner. On top of that, it’s local data which means Google is not syncing it with the cloud.

Note: Title of the post was updated for accuracy.

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