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Google keeps your search history (and lots of other data), even if you clear the browser's cache, and allows to download the history.

Here is how to get your Search History for the last few years in a convenient Excel format.

On your Google Take-Out, select (only) "Searches".

Google will create an archive of your searches, which you can download as JSON files, a file per quarter of searching.

The next step is to merge the files into one Excel file, with all the searches. A genius piece of software that can help here is OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine). After installing the tool, point it to the JSON files, and get all your searches together. It's pretty straightforward.

The export will contain:

  1. Boolean Strings,
  2. Timestamp for each String.

Now, for example, using Excel filtering, you can review your X-Ray searches by restricting the "String" column to contain the substring site: . Or, go over your OR, intitle:, or inurl:, searches. (Lots of ORs was there is the last sentence!) You can collect strings that seem worth repeating or modifying, and exchange with your peers.

This technique was most helpful while I was preparing the 3rd edition of the Boolean Book.

The above is a simplified process initially described in this article. OpenRefine was an excellent suggestion!

Curious about advanced Google Search? Please join me for a repeat of the sold-out webinar on Advanced Google, scheduled for January 9, 2018. Seating is strictly limited; register early.

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