All Your Fears Imagined: Here’s What Google Knows About You

With all the talk surrounding what Facebook has been doing with data, people haven’t even been mentioning the information that Google collects. We’ve known for some time that the tech company was collecting data on us and now we know just what they’re collecting, reinforcing our fears.

An IT consultant, Dylan Curran, decided to find out what in particular Google knew about him. Even with his advanced knowledge regarding tech, he still wasn’t prepared for what he found out.

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I was really like, ‘Oy my God. This is preposterous,’” he said.

He decided to do a little investigation to find out just what Google had on him and requested his information from Google.

Curran discovered that Google was always tracking his location in the background. They were calculating how long it took him to get from point A to point B, app data, and the files he’d deleted. They were also keeping track of his hobbies, interests, and income and even his possible weight.

While I am sure many would disagree, he didn’t believe Google was doing anything intentionally malicious. Despite that, this knowledge did not make him feel comfortable.

It’s wrong to trust any entity that big with so much information,” Curran contends. “They’re just trying to make money.” However, he also realizes that at some point, “someone is going to make a mistake.

He tweeted his findings, and you probably wouldn’t be shocked to find out his posts were retweeted several times, nearly 150,000.

An associate business professor focusing on cybersecurity law and policy at Indiana University, Scott J. Shackelford, knew all of this going into Curran’s investigation, both what was being tracked and how unbelievable it is to many.

All Google users are being tracked by default in terms of physically where [they’re] going and located,” he stated. “That is shocking to a lot of people.

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We started out here comparing Google to Facebook, but Google wants you to know you are actually in control of the data they collect on you, which is unlike Facebook. Additionally, they’re not putting it in the hands of third-party apps.

In order to make the privacy choices that are right for them, it’s essential that people can understand and control their Google data,” said a Google spokesperson. “Over the years we’ve developed tools like My Account expressly for this purpose, and we’d encourage everyone to review it regularly.

The My Account feature allows you to turn tracking mechanisms off as well as delete some of the collected data that you don’t want included. It takes a little bit of work, but at least you have options to control it. Along with that, you can also download a copy of everything Google has on you.

Yes, Google is collecting data on you. Yes, it is a surprising amount of data and includes things that you may have never expected them to collect on you. But it’s in your control.

This is more than we can say for other companies. Yes, Facebook is in the hot seat right now, but as we published the other day, even VPNs are keeping data on you. It seems like we’re not safe with anyone.

And Google has always been the first company people name when it comes to collected data, but it’s good to know that we have at least some control with it.

Will you follow these links here and delete your data that Google is holding? Let us know in the comments section below.

9 comments

  1. How can we all be sure that Google – or Facebook, or any other online – or cell phone company – or any potential data collector would honor any request to NOT collect specified data? ESPECIALLY our ever-corrupting government and corporations?

  2. DUH! If no one has figured this out until now, the world is more full of air-wasting imbeciles than I suspected. After all, one can’t buy a cellphone without that useless waste of space, time, and resources known as Google being on it. How pathetic is that?! I mean GOOGLE…ON YOUR PHONE! On every cellphone on the planet!! Duh!

    • “DUH! If no one has figured this out until now, the world is more full of air-wasting imbeciles than I suspected.”

      The problem isn’t so much that people don’t **know** it’s happening, it’s that up until now they haven’t seemed to **care** about it…or that they think it’s a fair trade-off for getting “free” services. But, thanks to the recent Facebook fiasco, now that they know the kinds of things that their data can be used for, the attitude to Google harvesting data might change just like it did with Facebook.

      “After all, one can’t buy a cellphone without that useless waste of space, time, and resources known as Google being on it”

      Don’t be silly…of course you can. All you have to do is buy a cellphone from Apple or – and I realize **I’m** being a little silly here – Blackberry. The problem is that, like with the “free”-ness of Google’s web services, people are lured in by the dirt-cheap prices of the spyware phones, not thinking – or not caring – that Google is sucking up all kinds of data from them; after all, sign a 2 year contract and get a FREE PHONE! Who cares that it collects a little bit of data…except that now they’re finding out that it’s not a **little** bit of data but a **lot** of data. But maybe that’ll change now too, thanks to Facebook.

      “I mean GOOGLE…ON YOUR PHONE! On every cellphone on the planet!!”

      Nope…not **every** cellphone. I think you’ve been drinking too much of Samsung’s Kool-Aid…no matter what they say or what they’d like to think, their spyware phones aren’t quite as popular as they say they are.

      • And Apple isn’t sucking anything up???? Yeah right. Only difference with Apple is that it is so locked down that people can’t see that it is happening. Google and Apple are the same. Rotten to the core.

  3. “Will you follow these links here and delete your data that Google is holding?”

    Followed one of the links that eventually led to Google Takeout and wanted to downloaded everything as one file. Haven’t gotten it yet as it’s creating the file as I type this and will e-mail me a link, but according to the page, they have a whole, massive one (1) MB of data on me!! Not really that surprising to me, though…I was pretty active on Google back in the day – e-mail, Picasso and even played with their blogging platform – but that ended with the big TOS and privacy policies consolidation in 2012 (or whatever year it was). That was when they added the paragraph saying that anything we put on their services became theirs to do with as they wished, so I deleted **everything** (I had copies of everything locally and always downloaded my e-mail to Thunderbird anyway) and stopped using the account. I would have even deleted the account itself, but had previously gone to comment on a YouTube video and found I needed a Google account to do so, so decided to keep the account in case I wanted to comment again in the future. Haven’t done so in the years since, so who knows…maybe I’ll just delete the account :-)

  4. It’s an illusion to think that by deleting all this information and setting up the most rigorous privacy options that you can stop them from following you.
    Big Brother is watching us, even ad we type these words.

  5. I see no one has mentionedthe data collection free browser duckduckgo ! I use that and am quite happy with it.
    Stuff google ,facebook,whatApp and twitter

    • DuckDuckGo is a search engine, not a browser. DDG may not collect any data but the browser you use to access DDG does collect data.

      “Stuff google ,facebook,whatApp and twitter”
      Don’t throw a party just yet. Google, FB, etc collect data on you even if you do not have an account with them or use their products. You can’t even escape their data harvesting by staying off the Internet.

      • Of course not… they have super dooper powers to know everything about everybody in the whole universe. NOT!

        Sorry Dragonmouth, that last sentence was just stupid. I know of numerous people who are OFF the internet and have never been on and despite what “you” say there is nothing on them. Impossible you say? Recluses “I” say.

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