Do You Know What Google Knows About You?
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
Can you imagine your life without the internet? Hardly so! We also bet you fall into those millions of users who resort to Google services to search some information on a daily basis. People use it for search requests, email correspondence, data sharing etc. etc. Well, this piece should certainly be interesting for you, as today we will tell you what Google knows about you and how it collects your Google profile.
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Stats about Google: how people use it
Nowadays, people all over the world spend twice as much time online, compared to 10 years ago. The amount of information uploaded to the internet grows at an incredible speed. It is a never-ending flow of data that includes locations, family photos, plans for tonight etc., that we share about ourselves via social media sites.
This is a great opportunity for Google to collect more than 20 petabytes of data every day, which is used to target commercial offers at us. For this internet giant, every minute means tons of new letters sent through Gmail and thousands of new videos uploaded to YouTube. Want to learn more about this? Let’s take a deeper look at the interesting stats on what happens in the Google world in a single minute.
Impressive figures, don’t you find? And one of the main reasons of such success is the ability to use Google services at no cost. But that “free candy” collects a vast amount of users’ private information. Let’s find out what Google knows about you and how it gathers your sensitive data to make pop-up advertising more relevant to interests of online audience.
3 ways how Google tracks you and collects your data
When you use Google services, you allow them to learn any required information about you, such as your tastes, food and clothes preferences, places you like to visit, etc. Based on this knowledge, Google creates your profile so that this popular search engine could show you relevant contextual ads.
Below we’ve grouped the main sources of such data collection, and what private info hackers can get hold of (if they manage to break into your profile). So, what does Google know about you?
While sending letters, 425 million Gmail users have no idea about the risks of fraud, private info manipulation, and identity theft. The most common techniques which cyber criminals use to hack passwords are phishing and brute force attacks.
Getting hold of passwords, hackers gain users’ contacts in address book, network accounts, sensitive information, and private correspondence. Moreover, they run programs that enter stolen usernames and passwords on thousands of websites until one hits. It gives an opportunity for scammers to send letters on behalf of a victim. Additionally, having logged in, they can change the password, and lock access to users’ Gmail.
The risk increases even more when it comes to search queries and web history, which sync across multiple gadgets. According to Aaron Titus, Identity Finder’s Chief Privacy Officer and General Counsel, “Any time information is automatically and seamlessly shared between devices, there is a danger that some of the information was not intended to be shared with another device.”
Furthermore, In August 2017, one popular and widely used extension for Chrome, Web Developer, was hijacked because of the phishing attack. The cyber criminals then uploaded the infected extension, which flooded websites with ads.
Google pleased smartphone users all over the world with its free navigation app, Google Maps. But it might be too early to celebrate! There are some features that are still threatening your online security. First of all, the app suggests you to log in to your Google account and type your home address for better routing. Guess how this could go wrong!
Also, adding geotags of the places you visit gives hackers who succeed in accessing your profile an opportunity to get fully acquainted with your location data. They will be able to create a comprehensive picture of your interests, habits, and preferences.
How to stop Google from running a profile on you
With this background, a quote from a well-known song by The Police comes to mind, which sounds like this internet company’s slogan: “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.” What does Google know about you? It seems that the internet giant, like Big Brother, wants to know who you are, what your address is, where you are now, and where you are going to be after.
Luckily, there are ways to stop the all-seeing eye of Google from collecting your data. First of all, you can control what activities are tracked and saved. Go to your Google Account settings to change, view, or delete activities that you don’t want to be recorded.
Tools to not let Google track you
Ok, you know how much data is collected and how to manage that (to an extent). But how can you make your private information secure and inaccessible for third parties? For that, use a reliable VPN service, like VPN Unlimited. It isn’t a magic bullet, but it offers you certain control over privacy measures, which will prevent hackers from snatching your Google profile.
Download VPN Unlimited to set up a constantly encrypted communication with friends, colleagues, or relatives and enjoy your web security.
Another option – use VPN browser extension
In case you do not wish to install a desktop app or need only browser traffic to be shielded by VPN, there is a great solution – VPN browser extension. Download the add-on, log in, connect to a VPN server, and voila, your private information is protected by military-grade encryption technology. As easy as that!