When is the last time you looked up something on Google? Most of us are very familiar with the popular search engine. But did you know that every time you use Google apps or products, your data is saved? The brand collects various bits of information to create a profile of you as a consumer in order to show you the most relevant advertisements. You may be surprised at just how much the tech giant knows about you.
Let’s start with the basics: Google knows your name, age, gender, and possibly other demographics. The company probably knows your phone number and email address and, if you’ve used Google Play Store to make a purchase, it keeps a record of your payments and payment methods.
If you have an Android phone or you use Google for photo storage, it’s probable that the company has used its facial recognition on you in order to quickly identify and tag you in photos. Similarly, Google stores any voice commands you give it and will use it to understand what you ask for most often. More surprisingly, Google analyzes your search history to paint a picture of your religious beliefs and political leanings. And if you use a Google-powered fitness tracker, the company can measure your activity level and other vital stats to determine your activity level and overall health.
Google also utilizes location-based data when building consumer profiles. Android phones track and record your location through GPS and Wi-Fi. Furthermore, it can use this information to determine things like where your workplace and your home likely are, as well as your favorite store or restaurant based on frequency and time spent. Even if you don’t have a Google-powered phone, Google Maps collects the same information.
Sometimes, the information collected involves other people, such as your friends and family. Gmail is able to see your correspondence, as well as who you communicate with most often. When using an Android device, Google also has access to your text messages.
Every time you search for something on Google, it adds to your profile. Google can gain an understanding of what you like and don’t like, as well as your needs, desires, and concerns. In addition, the videos you watch on YouTube (which is owned by Google) provide more information about you, such as which movies you have watched trailers for or which products you are interested in.
Fortunately, there are ways to control and limit what data is collected on you using Google activity controls, turning off location tracking, or using incognito mode while browsing.
Privacy is an important concern for us at Extract, which is why we developed software to redact pieces of personally identifiable information from public records online. We’ve redacted over four billion pages without a single reported data privacy breach. If you’d like to learn more, reach out today.
About the Author: Claire Means
Claire is a Database Development Specialist at Extract Systems. She started at the company as a document verifier, which gives her a unique understanding of the redaction software. Her attention to detail and high rate of accuracy prove her dedication to Extract’s success. Claire holds a certificate in Web Design from Madison College and her special interests include web analytics and search engine optimization.