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Can my employer see my private google history/”google activity” if I didn’t do anything on my work pc? For some context I logged in to my private google account on my work computer just to send a pdf file I couldn’t send on my phone. I logged into my google account on microsoft edge, but in private/incognito mode. But I was only logged in for about like 10 seconds because when I went to “google.com” I saw my previous searches from another device appear as recomendations on what to search. Note that google sync is disabled so that shouldn't happen, but appearntly google web and app activity still auto-completles your searches based on your previous google searhes across all devices. I instantly changed password and logged out. I didn't know that “google activity” has an option that gives the opportunity to see the search history of the account no matter what device you’re logged in on if it's enabled if you go to "https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity". I also saw that edge had some kind of extention that allowed all data to be read by the work organisation. The recomendations for autocomplete searches only came up on the site “google.com” for some more context, and nowhere else. So my Question is, Even though I didn’t search anything or do anything on my google account, can my employer/work still see/download my previous history stored on my google account or anything like that because I logged in on the work computer? I really was only signed in for maximum of like 10-15 seconds and I never checked my history while being logged in there. I just don’t want to get in trouble if I ever googled something unpopular.

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2 Answers 2

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It may seem like a simple question with a simple answer, but it's not.

First of all, you are connecting to Google via encrypted HTTPS. Normally (more on this shortly) this means that your ISP or employer can see that you went to Google but that's all. They can't see any sub-pages or account information or queries or anything other than you went to Google and the magnitude of traffic transferred up and down, but not the content.

If you were on your corporate network, note that some companies force company laptops to use the corporate network via an implicit VPN even from non-company locations, ... if you were on your corporate network it's possible that your traffic was forced through a corporate gateway that breaks the encrypted connection at the gateway, allowing them to see all content. A company laptop would have a corporate cert installed allowing them to do this transparently.

Since it's an employer provided laptop, there's a fair chance it has auto running monitoring software. In the event of monitoring software running on the laptop, the capability to see anything and everything regardless of other security and encryption measures exists, including activating the camera. Realistically most companies won't go this far but it's possible.

Bottom line is; when using company resources, assume they can see everything.

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If you used incognito mode and you logged out afterward then no, to access your browsing history your employer would need a valid session which is deleted when closing the browser when using incognito mode.

When you use incognito mode:

  • Chrome won't save your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms.
  • Files you download and bookmarks you create will be kept.
  • Your activity isn’t hidden from websites you visit, your employer or school, or your internet service provider.
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  • He used Edge, not Chrome.
    – PasWei
    Aug 5 at 15:11
  • Microsoft Edge is based on Chromium. Are you aware of any differences regarding the incognito mode ?
    – null
    Aug 5 at 15:50
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    Chromium != Chrome, and Edge switched to a Chromium base not too long ago. So on a work machine with a prolonged service period it might still be the old version of Edge not based on Chromium. I personally don't know whether there are substantial differences between their incognito modes though, I just wanted to mention it.
    – PasWei
    Aug 5 at 16:14

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