09 Jan 2019

Data. It feeds the information superhighway with ever-increasing accuracy and depth.  Personal data is particularly lucrative, and many companies will pay big bucks to get your info. Like many other tech giants, Google acquires massive amounts of personal data to tailor ads to the user and improve your experience.  Through its various apps and services, Google crafts a highly personalized profile on you based upon your activity on the internet via search, mobile phone, Gmail, Youtube or any others connected to the Google network. But just how much does Google know about you?  More than you might think.

Here is just a brief list of personal data Google collects:

  • What you look like
  • What you sound like
  • Your political and religious beliefs
  • How healthy you are
  • Where you live
  • Where you work
  • Where you have traveled
  • You cell phone numbers
  • Your marital status
  • If you have children
  • Who your friends are
  • Who you’ve been with
  • Your favorite movies
  • Your favorite food
  • Your favorite books
  • Your favorite stores

How does Google know all these things? YOU. Using the search engine, Waze, Google Maps, Hangouts, shopping, bookmarks, Google Timeline, Google Fit, Google Pay, Youtube… the list goes on and on.  Google is not shy about telling you that it collects this data and why it collects the data. The “Your Data” privacy page explains what Google tracks specifically. Google also states that your information is secure in the cloud infrastructure, not accessible to any governments or third parties, and is never ever sold.

Great. But what do you do if you don’t want all of that data stored, and how do you stop the data collection and storage? There are really only a few options like adjusting your privacy settings, using private browsing, choosing to use a non-Google browser for searches, turning off your location settings, and using a VPN.  And of course, deleting all of your Google accounts.

Want to see just how much Google has stored on you? You can export a copy of your data.  You can also log in to your Google account and do a privacy checkup. The results will probably shock you.

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