Google Got a Lot of Data About You

This article will dive into six types of data that most big tech companies, and especially Google, gather about consumers.

Data collection and analysis have become a booming industry over the past few years. In 2013, 90 percent of the world’s data had been collected in the previous two years. It’s expected that by 2020, the digital world will have as many digital bits as there are stars in our universe. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple are among the biggest businesses leading the data collection industry, with Google being one of the largest.

So what data do these business collect? Most of the data collected about you allows you to opt out of being tracked. However, opting in to having your data collected and stored usually gives you great services free of charge. Gmail, Google search, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and/or other Google services are a few examples of common free services that collect, cultivate, and store data about you in a data lake. This article will dive into six types of data that most big tech companies, specifically Google, gather about consumers.

Voice Commands and Recordings

If you have ever used a voice command with a Google product, either to search the web or ask your Android a question, Google has that command recorded and stored away. By logging into the “Voice & Audio” section of Google’s My Activity site, you can see and hear all of your past commands and recordings.

Places You’ve Been

If you use an Android phone and have opted into Google’s location history option, then you have allowed Google to track and record all of the places you have been. Your location history can also tell you the top four locations where you spend most of your time at. The Google Maps Timeline Feature also keeps a detailed account of where you’ve gone and when you went there. If having your location tracked at all times stresses you out, you can turn off this data collection through you Google Dashboard page.

Browser History

If you’re a regular Chrome user, whether surfing the net on your mobile devices or your desktop, Google has a thorough history of the sites you’ve visited and the searches you googled. Google’s dashboard reveals how many searches you’ve made in the last 28 days and how much of an increase or decrease of usage that number represents. This page also shares with you your last searches, divided into categories such as web, images, news, shopping, videos, maps, and books. In addition to collecting your browser history, Google records what inquiries you search the most on a month by month breakdown. If you’d like a way around this specific data collection area, using the incognito mode will prevent your searches from being stored.

Chrome Sync Information

Using your Google dashboard, you can see all the collected data created while using Google’s Chrome browser. This page lets you know how many sites allow to autosave your passwords, tabs that you currently have open through Chrome on one of your devices, and autofill settings that remember information such as your name, email, address, and credit card information.

YouTube Videos You’ve Watched

If you watched any YouTube videos while logged into your Google account, Google has the number of videos collected and recorded within the last 28 days. Google’s dashboard page will share with you the number of videos you’ve watched and the percentage increase of watched videos over the past 28 days. This page will also share with you how many video searches you’ve made in the past month along with how many times you liked or disliked a video.

While the amount of data that we create is immaculate, the amount and type of data that is stored is just as unbelievable. However, it’s important to remember that the collection and storing of our data is optional. By using these free services provided by Google, you choose (or opt in) to allow Google to access and record the data you create. This may all seem overwhelming and like an invasion of your privacy, but keep in mind that no one else has access to this information unless they have access to your Google account. Which is why it’s important that you take the right precautions to ensure your information is safe. Just as businesses utilize backup solutions to protect their information, you can implement protective measure for your account, such as requiring passwords for all your devices, removing unused apps and services connected to your account, and cleaning up your list of connected devices.