Boost Your Privacy on Google Bard with This One Setting

I essentially dwell in Google. I check my Gmail one or a couple thousand times a day. Managing my calendar in Google Calendar. Constantly utilizing Google to look things up, and back up large amounts of data to Google Drive.

We have been exploring the capabilities of AI “Bard”, and while it has some issues, it has a lot of potential. With the support of the Google Brain Trust, I’m convinced that it will soon be more than just a contender.

The concern with large language model AIs like Bard and ChatGPT is that they need to be trained using an extensive amount of data. My worry was that since Bard is linked to the same account as my email, it would have access to my email correspondence. This correspondence often includes confidential messages from clients and companies I work with, as well as personal conversations with family and friends. I was concerned that Bard might absorb my email traffic and utilize it in some way. The worst-case scenario would be if Bard sent all my email conversations to a central knowledge base where others could potentially access it.

Thankfully, that is not the case. Mostly.

As seen from the blue box in the screenshot below, it is mentioned that “Your conversations [with Bard] are processed by human reviewers to improve the technologies powering Bard. Don’t enter anything you wouldn’t want reviewed or used.”

There is one reassuring bit of information if you click “How it works”. Google states: Your Google Workspace content, like from Gmail or Drive, is not reviewed or used to improve Bard.

Nonetheless, you can deactivate human review of the conversations you have with Bard, and even turn off machine analysis of those conversations. To do that, simply click on the Activities icon on the top right of the Bard screen and click Turn Off. You’ll receive a big message saying “Activity Is Off.” As long as that’s showing, Bard isn’t recording your conversations.

To turn recording back on, click the “Bard Activity is off” link. You’ll be given the opportunity to turn activity tracking back on.

By turning off the activities, you lose some features from Bard but also the worry that your search may be shared with Google.

For the record, Bard thinks “You Spin Me Round” by Dead or Alive and “Take On Me” by a-ha have the same Rickrollerish vibe as the Astley classic. You’re welcome. And yes, this is how I amuse myself. You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter on Substack, and follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at, on Instagram at, and on YouTube at