Chances are, if you’re reading this blog post, you’re one of the billions of people who use Google products on a daily basis.
What you may not know is that every time you use Google Search, check your Gmail, or get directions on Google Maps, you’re providing Google with data about yourself.
While this may not seem like a big deal at first glance, it’s important to understand how Google uses this data and what implications it may have for your privacy.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways Google collects data and what you can do to keep your information private.
What does Google Think of You?
Most people are curious about what Google thinks of them. After all, Google knows a lot about us. It knows what we search for, where we go, and what we do online. So, it’s no surprise that people want to know what Google’s algorithms think of them.
Luckily, it’s easy to find out. Just sign in to your personal Google account and head to Google’s home page. Then, search the phrase “Google ad settings.” The first result that pops up will take you to your personal ad personalization page.
On this page, you’ll see a long list of things that Google thinks you’re interested in. Some of them may be accurate, while others may be surprising or even amusing. Either way, it’s interesting to see what Google has inferred about you based on your online activity.
Google Data Collection
Google is no stranger to collecting data about its users. In fact, the company has been collecting user data since its inception in 1998.
Over the years, Google has amassed a veritable treasure trove of information about its users, including everything from search queries and locations to the types of devices they use and the websites they visit.
This data is used by Google for a variety of purposes, including serving targeted ads and personalizing users’ search results.
However, some have raised concerns about just how much information Google has on its users and what it might do with all that data.
Serving Up Ads
One of the primary ways that Google makes money is through advertising. Without revenue, all the amazing free things from Google wouldn’t be possible.
The company sells ad space on its various properties, such as Search, Gmail, and YouTube, and then serves targeted ads to users based on their personal data.
For example, if you’ve been searching for instructions on how to knit a sweater recently, you might see an ad for yarn when you visit Gmail.
While this practice isn’t necessarily harmful, some users have raised concerns about their privacy being invaded by targeted ads.
Google Maps Tracking
Another way that Google collects data about its users is through location tracking.
The company offers several location-based services, such as
Google Maps and Android Location Services that allow it to track users’ whereabouts in real-time or near-real-time.
This data is then used to provide targeted ads and personalized content to users based on their current location.
For example, if you’re looking for a restaurant near you on Google Maps, you might see an ad for a local business that serves food similar to what you’re looking for.
While location tracking can be useful for some people, others have expressed concern about how much information Google knows about their movements and whereabouts.
How to view your Google Maps Timeline
If you’re curious about exactly what information Google has collected about your movements and whereabouts, there’s an easy way to find out.
Just head over to your Google account settings and select “Download Your Data.”
From there, you can choose which types of data you’d like to download (including “Location History”).
Once you’ve downloaded your Location History file, you can view it in any standard spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers.
How to Pause Location History
If, after viewing your Location History file, you decide that you’d like Google to stop tracking your movements, you can easily do so by pausing your Location History.
Head back over to your account settings and select “Data & Personalization,” then scroll down to turn off “Location History”.
You can also turn off location tracking for individual devices by opening the “Settings” app on your device and scrolling down to turn off “Location Reporting .” Please note that some features, such as traffic predictions in google maps, still require location tracking even if “location history ” is paused.
Wrapping it Up
To sum things up, Google collects data about its users in a variety of ways, including through search queries, location tracking, and targeted advertising.
While this data collection may not be harmful in itself, it’s good to know what kind of information Google is collecting about you. And how to stop it if you’re concerned about privacy.
Where to Go to Learn More
You can visit Google’s Data Practices page to learn more… https://safety.google/privacy/data/
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