How Does Google Track You?
Did you know that your search history is saved indefinitely when you search on Google? That implies they have access to all of your Google searches. That alone is terrifying, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg regarding the vast amount of data they aim to acquire about individuals.
Most people are unaware that even if you don’t use any Google products directly, they are still attempting to gather as much information as possible about you. On 75% of the top million websites, Google trackers have been discovered. This means they’re attempting to monitor you almost wherever you go on the internet, and they’re trying to eat your browser history!
Most people are also unaware that Google is responsible for most of the advertisements you see on the internet and in applications – you know, the ones that follow you around everywhere? That, too, is Google. They’re no longer a search firm; instead, they’re a tracking firm. They’re monitoring everything they can for these obnoxious and invasive advertisements, including when you see them, where you see them, whether you click on them.
Are you concerned that Google has too much information on you? Here’s what information it gathers about you and how you may start erasing it.
Google is an inextricable digital presence that has infiltrated almost every part of your life. Whether you want to check something up on the internet, go to a new location, or view that viral video, you’ll find it here.
While there isn’t much you can do to remove Google from your life altogether. There are methods to restrict its reach and recover control over your personal information. Here are all ways Google may monitor you and how to remove or disable it.
You’re undoubtedly aware that Google monitors what you do on its devices, applications, and services—but you may not know how far its surveillance reaches, including where you travel, what you buy. It’s an extensive collection of information, but you have a better choice than what Google gathers about you and how long it retains it. Here’s how to do it.
We’re talking about two subjects here: the quantity of data Google gathers about you, which is a lot, and what Google does. While Google claims that its data collecting practices enhance its services—for example, by assisting you in finding restaurants similar to ones you’ve enjoyed in the past—users may disagree.
On the Internet
The Activity Controls page in your Google Account on the web is the ideal location to start controlling Google’s monitoring practices. That link should take you right to it if you’re presently logged into Google in your browser. The information Google has about you is divided into six categories. Using the toggle buttons on the screen, you may turn off tracking on any of them.
Web & App Activity and Location History are the two most important aspects. First, there’s Web & App Activity, which includes everything you do on the web when connected to Chrome, everything you search for while signed in to Google, and everything you do within Google’s applications, as you would imagine from the name.
To check how detailed Google’s records are, click on the Manage activity option under Web & App Activity. You’ll be able to view the websites you’ve visited, the online searches you’ve conducted, and the applications you’ve installed on your Android phone, but not what you did within those apps.
Google Maps shows the location.
Maps are one of the Google services difficult to abandon since there are no viable alternatives. When you use Google Maps to search for or navigate to a location, Google saves the coordinates of your location.
Apart from enhancing its service, the firm uses this data to power features like commuting ideas before leaving home sending a notification card if you’re in a restaurant.
Three options may be tweaked to change how much data is gathered.
Google’s Location History feature prohibits it from keeping information on all of your sites and the routes you’ve taken. Disabling it will not affect your experience, but you will lose the ability to see your excursions on Google Maps later if you need to.
The Location option is merely a link to the GPS settings on your phone. Turning it off prevents Google Maps from tracking your whereabouts. You may also cancel the GPS permission for Google Maps alone, guaranteeing that it doesn’t track your movements in the background.
The Web and App Activity switch, on the other hand, is the most important. By enabling it, Google will be able to store all of your activity across all Google products and services. This also allows Google to share your location data across its applications to provide a personalized experience.
Disable this option to reduce the amount of data you provide Google.
All of these possibilities are in one spot. Launch the Google Maps app, slide from the left side to bring up the navigation drawer, and then hit Settings to access the settings menu. Now go to Personal Content and look under App History and Location Settings for those modifications.
A bouncer is a valuable tool for granting Android permissions temporarily. When you exit a particular program, it might immediately withdraw rights.
You’ll find all the links you need to remove existing location data on the same page. Delete all Location History and Delete Location History Range are two options. There’s also a Maps History option on the previous page to delete particular items from your location history.
Google doesn’t even need Maps to monitor you if you’re running Android. Your Android phone continually tracks your movements, regardless of whether the location option is turned on or not. The only way is to turn off Web & App Activity and Location History.
Do you wish to access those privacy settings but don’t have the Maps app installed? Go to your My Activity dashboard and choose Activity Controls from the left menu to access those options.
Gathering of Data From Android Phones
Google also keeps a slew of additional personal information on Android phones, including contacts, calendar appointments, and even app use. It keeps track of how often and for how long you’ve used a given app to create behavioural patterns and push out suitable operating system upgrades.
Use the Device Information option on the Activity Controls tab to prevent this from occurring. You must return to the My Activity dashboard’s main page to delete a particular entry.
Of course, what you search for on Google has a significant impact on algorithms that try to figure out who you are and what you like. Google keeps records of everything you look up. However, you may manage your search searches using the My Activity page.
You may either turn off the function that saves your search history or delete those already in the database. You’ll need to turn off Web & App Activity for the former, and you can do the latter from the home page.
YouTube Search and View
Furthermore, Google has access to your internet viewing history through your YouTube account’s search and viewing history. You may, however, put a stop to it. These settings may be tweaked at the bottom of the Activity Controls page.
To erase the watch history from a period, go to the Delete Activity By tab. Alternatively, on the YouTube app, go to Settings > History & Privacy.
Google Chrome’s Browsing History and Data
Chrome, Google’s browser, plays a vital part in this. It informs the organization about your surfing habits throughout the internet, not just on a single service.
Apart from saving your browsing history, Google Chrome provides a few more means of sharing your information, including system information page content.
To exclude Chrome history and your activity on multiple sites, go to the Activity Controls tab and deactivate the Include Chrome history option under Web & App Activity.
It would help if you also unchecked the box next to Help enhance safe surfing and automatically submit use information in Chrome’s settings. Visit the My Activity dashboard to delete a particular record from your Chrome logs.
Of course, switching to a different browser is best to avoid Google’s data-mining methods. Many Chrome rivals on the market are as competent, if not more so. If you wish to keep using Google Chrome, you may try signing out and turning off Sync.
All of your Google Assistant queries and interactions are likewise saved indefinitely. According to Google, this is done to guarantee that the virtual assistant listens when it is summoned and to enhance the company’s voice recognition algorithms in general. You may, however, turn it off if you’re not comfortable with it.
It’s worth noting that removing the voice activity option would break a few Google Assistant capabilities, including multiple Google Home accounts. The Activity Controls tab contains the Voice and Audio Activity.
You’ll have to search the My Activity page to get rid of a particular recording and command.
Google Images and Videos
Object and face recognition is applied to your Google Photos synchronized photos. Unfortunately, nothing you can do about that but abandon the platform.
The bulk of Google Photographs’ highlighting features needs to scan your photos by algorithms for reasons such as grouping them by faces, objects, and other factors.
Get Access to Your Google Data
Even if you go through all of your privacy settings and history, there’s still a potential that Google may follow you.
The “Nothing to Hide” Myth
Since they have “nothing to hide,” some may say they are unconcerned about the quantity of data Google collects and stores, but this argument is wrong.
Everyone has personal information they wish to keep private: do you lock the restroom door when you leave? Controlling your personal information is what privacy is all about. You don’t want it in everyone’s hands, and you don’t want someone benefitting from it without your knowledge or approval.
Furthermore, privacy is required for democratic institutions such as voting and daily activities such as receiving medical treatment and financial transactions. There may be severe consequences if you don’t have it.
On a personal level, a lack of privacy causes you to be trapped in a filter bubble, influenced by advertisements, prejudice, fraud, and identity theft. It may lead to further division and societal manipulation on a social level, as we’ve seen in recent years.
You Can Live Without Google
Google, in short, seeks to track too much. It’s unsettling, and it’s just too much data for one business to hold on to anybody.
Thankfully, there are many options for lowering your Google footprint to near-zero levels. If you’re ready to give up Google, we’ve got some suggestions for services to replace their suite of products and instructions on how to delete your Google search history. It may seem like you are caught in the Google verse, but there are ways to get out.
Changing the search engine you use for all of your queries may make a significant difference. After all, you ask your search engine your most personal inquiries; shouldn’t they be kept private at the very least?