In a world where everyone is overexposed, privacy has become a major phenomenon. Most of us value our privacy and do not want others to interfere in our personal affairs. It is impossible for a person to be a complete extrovert. There may be times when people want to hide and shrink into themselves. But is it possible in today’s world? Have you ever realized the fact that we have been traced at every moment?
We all know that Google is the biggest and the most popular search engine since its inception in 1998. It is impossible to imagine a life without the use of several apps and services provided by Google. We are dependent on it and trust it as we provide a large portion of our data. Google claims that they don’t sell our data to third parties. But did you know how much information does Google have about their users in the first place?
Google, smarter than you think!
Google has information about every single action you perform online using any of its devices or services. Google’s Android OS is one of the most popular operating systems, and have more than 2 billion users worldwide. Google possesses every single information about individuals. It tracks the places you go, the purchases you make, your web searches, your emails, and much more. You will be able to identify all the activities that you do on the internet by viewing My Activity. You can see your Google and YouTube searches, apps you have downloaded, and even the number of times you have opened a particular app on your Android phone. Scary, isn’t it?
Google accounts and activity controls:
The data saved in your Google account gives you more personalized experiences across all Google services. This setting has four major sections: Web and App Activity, Location History, YouTube History, and Ad Personalization. The Web and App activity stores information about what you search on the Google search engine, Maps, Play Store, audio recordings, and any other Google apps you may be using. Google indeed keeps a record of everything that you do. Of course, you have the option of stopping Google from tracking your Web and App activity, but that will make some services disable or unusable. Another one is about Location History. Even though you are not using Google maps for navigation, Google constantly tracks where you’ve been, how long you took to travel, and how long you stayed there. This can be seen in great detail on the Timeline feature in Google Maps. It even stores information about your mode of commute (Google knows if you’ve been taking a car, motorcycle, bus, train, or flight). You have the option to turn this off, but as you may have guessed, it will make Google Map unusable.
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Google has a separate section for storing your YouTube History. It is not included in the Web and App activity probably because there’s so much data available to collect from YouTube. Google can then use this data to suggest video recommendations to you. It also stores this data to remember where you left off if you closed YouTube in the middle of watching a video etc..
The last section is the Ad Personalization data. This is probably the scariest one to see. All the data collected above is used to build a profile about you, which helps Google show advertisements personalized to your tastes and interests. If you open the Ad Settings, you can see that Google knows more about you. It has details about your age, what phone you use, your financial status, your digital content interests and so much more. All this information is used solely for showing you personalized advertisements.
Google: How it collects the information?
Google account gets connected with all your smart devices once you are signed in. Then it starts to collect information and personalize them according to your preferences. It gathers data about your hotel reservations, flight bookings, subscriptions to online streaming services, and your payments on Google Pay and other transactions. It can also give a detailed analysis of what you have done in the past weeks in fixed intervals.
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Is our data safe with Google?
As mentioned earlier, Google claims that they don’t disclose any of the information and it is used solely for making your life easier. In a way, it is true. You will get notified about the things that matter to you the most. You always have the choice not to give any information, but it may affect the usage of certain apps and services. Today’s world mostly depends on the internet and its resources for almost everything. For the better usage of these services, we have to provide particular details. Do not forget that it is always up to you whether to disclose your information or not. So let us keep it in mind and think before you give access to your personal data.
Contributors : Navaneeth S