What Google Knows About You

Google is a great service, providing search, Youtube, Android and much more beside, all free. So, how does Google make money?

Google is one of the richest companies in the world, and makes its money by selling targeted adverts. If you have ever done a search, then when you visit other sites you get adverts relating to your search, these are targeted. Advertisers know you are more likely to buy something if you are seeking information on their product or service, and this is what Google sells. In other words, you are the product Google sells.

To sell targeted ads Google needs to know as much about you as they can, and they aggregate information that you supply, some willingly, some not.

What is this information, where is it, and how can it be controlled? There are ways you can control this.

1. Switch off targeted adverts here. You will need to log in to your Google account (your Gmail account login will work) to switch these off. Log in and turn off “Ads Personalization” with the slider. You will still see adverts, they just won’t be targeted from Google. This will not affect other suppliers (of which there are many).

2. Find out what Google knows about you, and delete it if you wish. You will need to sign into your Google account (see above). This can be a large collection, so take your time to explore. Have a look at your timeline, and click on one of the blocks on your timeline, then on the magic wand to reveal the route of a trip. Yes, it can be that detailed!

You can delete items using a number of criteria, or delete the whole lot. But just remember, the list will build again. Google uses your log in and cookies to keep track of you so it requires a concerted effort to minimise the tracking.

By Peter Andersen

The information above reproduced courtesy of the Hutt City SeniorNet

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