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Google spies on you. What data does it collect?

A lot of people seal their webcams. Perhaps you’re doing it yourself. Internet anonymity is an enormous issue, but let’s look at the most evident case: what information is collected by Google? Google is the largest search engine, and we can google almost any question. Also, many people use other Google products. These include Gmail, Google Account, YouTube, Google Photos, and more. There are solid reasons for panic with so much information on the Internet. But is Google really keeping all of this? Yes.

Google knows your favorite places

Your favorite places and routes are stored in the Timeline function. You can see the history of your visits all the time here. Google itself, however, offers the option of deleting all information if you are afraid of leaks.

It keeps all the actions history

Every action using Google Apps is saved in the activity log. There are apparent ones like browsing history and search logs, as well as quite intimidating ones like voice search history. Information from your Android devices is also available. You can remove it here to avoid giving away extra data to the Internet.

Google sees your pics

This is a pretty obvious point. If you use Google Photos, then your images are located in the cloud. And the cloud itself is stored on Google’s servers. Erasing photos is also quite simple: Google even wrote a small manual.

YouTube actions

Google owns YouTube since 2006 and gathers information from there as well. You can discover the watching and searching history, as well as your comments and messages following the link. By simply clicking on the relevant items in the menu, you can clear the history or even cancel the tracking.

Google has your emails, too

If you’re using Gmail, all your emails are also available to Google. Archive messages or even the spam folder will be stored on servers. In the Dashboard, you can even look at them and, of course, clear up all the data.

Other information

On the Dashboard you will also see other information like tasks (Google Tasks), events (Google Calendar), notes (Google Notes), books (Google Books), sports achievements (Google Fit), history of translated words in Google Translate, saved locations (Google Maps) and even contacts (Google Contacts).

Google Docs and Google Drive are also worth mentioning as many people use it as the primary cloud service. While it’s simple to delete Google Drive and Google Docs information, don’t forget to empty the trash bin as well.

You can download the archive with all the saved data here.

Why does Google keep this data?

That’s the way they make money. All our travel data, search queries, and more help Google customize advertisements to target ad campaigns more accurately. So advertisers are working with the audience they need, and Google, in turn, is getting their funds for such an accurate system.

Should I be afraid of it?

It is awkward, of course, to realize that a lot of your private data is on the servers and that under certain circumstances it can become public. Personally, I don’t think that you should be scared because you’re unlikely to do anything illegal or share pictures on Google Drive. Also, the possibility that a random person would get data from you is still very small due to the security conditions. Large enterprise failures and leaks are rare, and Snowden’s stories about personal information disclosure are unlikely to affect the general population.

Your privacy should not be disregarded, though. Check your information from time to time and download the archive with the files to make sure there is nothing harmful to you. Many social networks are now offering this chance. And, of course, do not forget to simply set limited access when uploading the files.

Pavel Novikov

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