8 Things You Should Never Google (and Why)

8 Thing You Should Never Google and Why AI-Generated Image

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8 Thing You Should Never Google and Why AI-Generated Image
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Google Alert

Remember when the internet was just starting out and we had to physically print out directions to know where we were going? Now, with the advancement of technology, we can Google everything we want to know at all times of the day. 

But as Spiderman says, "With great power comes great responsibility," and that same concept applies to Googling. While it can be awesome having a wealth of endless information at our fingertips, Googling certain topics, such as medical symptoms or legal issues, can lead to unneeded stress and privacy breaches. 

Search engines can track and record your search queries, which could potentially be accessed by hackers or used by companies to bombard you with ads. In that spirit, here are eight things you should never Google — and why. 

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1. Medical Symptoms

Who hasn't been guilty of this one? Googling symptoms can lead to misleading or inaccurate health information that can cause you great anxiety and stress. There's actually a term for it: cyberchondria, the digital-age version of hypochondria (a condition where a person is excessively worried about having a serious illness, often based on the misinterpretation of symptoms).

Googling your symptoms can lead to misdiagnosing oneself with serious diseases or conditions (they really got us convinced that we're dying from a headache sometimes) based on generalized information that may not apply to your specific situation. 

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Inna Dodor/istockphoto

2. Anything Illegal

Searching for illegal activities, substances, or explicit content can put you at legal risk. These searches may be tracked and could potentially alert law enforcement. Officers can even show up at your doorstep unannounced if they believe you're involved with illegal organizations based on your search history. Not to mention that Googling these things can expose you to dangerous or harmful content. 

Cinematic Close Up Footage of a Handcuffed Convict at a Law and Justice Court Trial. Handcuffs on Accused Criminal in Orange Jail Jumpsuit. Law Offender Sentenced to Serve Jail Time.

3. Security-Related Keywords

Googling information about hacking or creating weapons can get you flagged as a security threat. These searches are often monitored by government and law enforcement agencies as part of their efforts to prevent terrorism and other criminal activities. If your search behavior is flagged, it could lead to serious legal consequences, long-term monitoring, or being placed on a government watchlist. 

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So scary!
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Marina Demeshko/istockphoto

6. Products or Services You Don't Want To See in Ads Later

Ever get the feeling that your phone is spying on you? That's because your search history can be used by advertisers and tech companies to tailor content based on your interests and online behavior. Googling certain products can lead to a persistent influx of related advertisements in the future. 

This can be super annoying or even feel intrusive — especially if you searched for something out of momentary curiosity or by mistake.

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7. Stock Investment 'Tips'

Blindly following investment advice found through a Google search can be financially risky. These searches might lead you to unreliable or biased sources, scams, or speculative investments that are not trustworthy. When it comes to finances and investments, it's always best to consult a trusted financial advisor or rely on credible financial news sources.

Related: Should You Ask ChatGPT for Investment Advice? It Depends

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8. Anything You Don't Want People To Know

There's a reason they say the "internet is forever." Case in point: Celebrities being cancelled over resurfaced old Tweets. Googling personal or sensitive information can leave a digital trail, potentially exposing your private queries to data breaches or others who might use your device. 

This can lead to uncomfortable situations or privacy invasions if your search history is revealed to people you didn't intend to share it with — like, say, your boss or mom.