Yes, Google knows all about you
After years of warnings about being careful with your personal data online, people are finally waking up to how much tech companies know about them.
While Facebook has taken the brunt of the recent criticism, Google also has a vast amount of data about you. Internet users do more than three billion searches on Google every day and all the data is kept and used to help them sell more ads.
Google knows every website you go, who your friends are (via Contacts) and maybe even where you travel to (via Google Maps). And if you use an Android phone it knows what apps you use and when you use them.
It’s easy to find out what data Google has on you but it’s hard to escape. Even if you delete your activity, the company still keeps some basic personal data.
And the more you use Google products, the more useful they become. For example, you can set a work and home address in Google Maps so when you search for a
Even if you delete your activity, the company still keeps some basic personal data.
destination it can tell you how far it is from work or home. But if you do that you’re giving them key personal information which can also be used by other Google apps.
Also, Google’s suite of services makes it inconvenient to leave. Gmail, Maps, Docs, Chrome Sheets, and Drive are all great products, but get even better when used in conjunction with each other. So what are your options?
First, take a look at what Google knows about you (visit myactivity.google.com) or download it (takeout.google.com). If you’re happy with it having that data then you can keep on using Google apps for free and in exchange allow it to track and keep your information.
The other option is to lock down some of the settings, for example blocking your location.
Your final option is to leave Google. You can delete all the data Google knows about you and start using other apps.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t track you online. For navigating around town download the Navmii app, and look at Firefox to replace Chrome as a web browser. Instead of Gmail, try Kolab Now or FastMail and for documents you could try Microsoft Office or Zoho Docs.
It takes a buffet of apps to replace Google, but it is possible to leave the company and stop it collecting and using your data.