Light Wave


New tech wipes your Google search history clean when you die

By Jake Beardslee · September 18, 2023

In brief…

  • Opera GX's new "Fake My History" tool replaces your real browsing history with fake, wholesome searches after you die - or are inactive for 14 days.
  • It aims to help protect online reputations and cover up embarrassing browsing histories post-mortem.
  • Experts say that while deleting data is not as secure as not inputting it in the first place, privacy features like "Fake My History" are a step in the right direction.
Opera GX's new "Fake My History" feature lets users replace their browsing history with wholesome, fake searches after they die.  Opera Software/Wikimedia

Just about everyone has seen something about themselves online that’s cringe-worthy. We’re only human. Norway-based Opera GX aims to change all that with a new tool designed to help people protect their online reputations and cover up questionable browsing histories after they die.

Opera GX’s “Fake My History” feature will replace a deceased user’s actual web browsing history with wholesome fake searches like “how to build a birdhouse” and “local volunteering opportunities.”

“In life, there are no saves, respawns or checkpoints. Anything can happen,” said Opera GX’s Product Director Maciej Kocemba. “When it does, what will you be remembered for? The Lara Croft body pillow you ordered online?”

“With ‘Fake My History’, we’re wiping the slate clean and replacing your scandalous digital shenanigans with a totally fake version of your browsing past,” Kocemba said.

The search tool can be installed on Windows and Apple computers. Users can then opt into the “Fake My History” feature, which activates after 14 consecutive days of inactivity to swap out real search history. While the fake URL list is extensive, some may be reused for realism, as people tend to revisit their favorite sites.

An Opera GX spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the feature is meant to be lighthearted, but also address real concerns about online privacy and reputation.

“‘Fake My History’ is an opt-in feature as we don’t want to forcibly remove the history of a person that just went on a two-week hiatus,” the spokesperson said. However, it’s important to point out that the “Fake My History” tool cannot be used to hide or conceal criminal activities.

Cybersecurity expert Jake Moore told the Daily Mail that while privacy features like this are a step in the right direction, “Deleting data is not as forensically sound as not having the information written in the first place, as deleted data is not overwritten quickly and remains on the hard drive.”

Over all, Opera GX’s tongue-in-cheek “Fake My History” offers users a way to wipe their browsing slates clean after death and present a more virtuous online image. But experts advise being mindful of your digital footprint from the start.

In other words: Straighten up and fly right!