April 4th, 2019 | Updated on March 11th, 2023
Wanna freak yourself out?
Google knows and store a lot more about you than you probably think it does. If you use any of its products, such as Gmail, Google Search or even an Android phone, the company collects your data to make its services better for end users.
- Google knows where you’ve been. It stores your location every time you turn on your phone, if you have location tracking turned on.
- Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted. Google stores search history across all your devices.
- Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, and income.
- Google knows all the apps you use, by storing information on every app and extension you use.
- Google has all of your YouTube history
Interestingly, the data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents.
Google collects data about you through active and passive methods.
- Active Data Collection And Passive Data Collection: Active data collection occurs when you are using any of the Google products directly. Passive one occurs when you are not using Google products directly.
- How Active Data Collections Is Different From Passive One: You log in to Gmail, you search the web through Chrome, leaving enough hints about your likes and dislikes. These are active data collections. Passive Data Collections is the less obvious method, but is equally effective to gather your personal data.
In the active method, it is you, who provides his personal information, while most of the passive data are collected through apps running in the background.
How Google Is Benefiting From This Massive Data Gathering Exercises
Google has billions of users. Thanks to its wide reach, it personalizes your web experience. Do you think Google is doing this for free? No. Absolutely not. It is making money from your activities. There will be no targeted advertisement, if you stop leaking little bit of your secrets every day on the web.
Types Of Data Google Gathers
Where you go, what type of music you listen to, when you walk out of your home, Google knows everything.
1. Where You Go?
Your nearest cell towers, Wi-fi hotspots you have accessed to, all these help Google track you through GPS. Remember, GPS always coordinates with your IP address.
2. What You Do When You Step Out
Location data is a powerful tool. More powerful than parents of olden days. It lets Google know whether you are running, walking or driving.
3. What You Do?
You have watched a particular type of video, showing a particular type of content. Google keeps a tab on your activities. Through its search engine, it knows your favorite news channel, anchors you love to watch, topics that excite you. Now be ready for similar contents, which Google will keep recommending you. And these recommendations will come with ads.
4. What Your Payment History Reveals
Google Pay has all your debit and credit card details. Not only this, it also knows where you are spending your money, and how much. Just imagine, it also knows the location of your merchants. Is this not enough for it to send you targeted ads?
5. Have You Taken Your Time Off From Your Work?
If you are on sick leave, then Google knows it. Because you must have fixed your appointment with a doctor, and the doctor must have confirmed your appointment through Gmail. If it knows about the Doctor’s specialization, then rest assured you have let Google know the details of your sickness. Targeted ads will follow you soon.
Android and Chrome are two most prominent tools of Google’s data collection exercise. It also has considerable access to your data, even if you are using non-android operating system like Apple’s iOS.
How To Find Out What Google Knows About You And Limit The Data It Collects
Want to limit what Google can find and share about you? Use its Privacy Checkup tool. You can also visit the Activity page and toggle everything off, so that Google stops checking in on your location, device information, web & app activity, voice & audio activity, YouTube Search and Watch history and more.
To its credit, Google doesn’t shy away from letting users know what data it collects and why. It also says that its cloud infrastructure protects that data, and that it doesn’t give governments “direct access” or “backdoor access” to any information. Google provides a public transparency report on all requests and other issues that might affect users.