Your Good Friend Google
Everybody knows that Google collects a lot of personal information about its users. When I wrote and re-read this sentence I felt that I read exactly this or very similar sentence many many times already. Anyway, this is a clear fact.
It is repeated that often that we just generated immunity against this information.
Moreover, collected information really helps Google to provide better service, better search results for instance.
Nothing new so far. But when I discussed all these with other people I discovered that very few aware about 2 tools which show how close your friendship with google is.
Do not Remember Where You Last September? Check Your Location History!
As far as I remember location tracking is by default OFF and you must turn it ON yourself. But when you do… you will see the power of Google. It knows what places you visit on a daily basis. Google is smart enough to combine some moves in a single travel. It can be a single day travel, which just includes driving and walking (both auto-detected). It can be a week long travel which includes few flights (also auto-detected). You do not need an internet connection during a trip – it looks like data is collected in your phone and synchronized later on.
Google provides you a nice website to see all this data in a different scale – per day, per month, per year, and group per travel. You can also see this information in android version of google maps.
Moreover, a few days ago Google sent me a nice e-mail with a short summary for last month.
Since I accepted Google surveillance I visited 6 countries and 53 cities – interesting, never thought about these numbers before.
You can find your location history (if you turned it on before) here: https://www.google.com/maps/timeline
As I said, location history is not a new story for me, first time I read about it a ong time ago.
Next thing is fresh for me.
Want to Know How Often You Use Whatsapp? Check Activity History
Activity history is an aggregated history of your … activities. You Google searches and youtube youtube watches are obviously there. But what I did not expect to find there – a log of my smartphone usage. I did not expect that google tracks when I start clock app, or whatsapp or my podcast client (if you a podcast listener – article “Listen More Audiobooks and Podcasts” could be interesting for you) or when I use my smartphone camera (!).
And here is a filter which give a hint what kind of information Google collects.
BTW, I do not remember that I explicitly turned this on.
If you want to check when last time you have opened watsapp on your phone – Google can help – check here https://myactivity.google.com
By the way, I do not use Google photos, and geo tagging for photos is also disabled.
Otherwise, I could probably see even more “details” about my activities.
What Can You Do?
- one thing you can try to do not use Google service. But this is not that trivial and often painful.
- Or you can disable what you can disable and delete what you can delete
- Or set a strong password to your Google account, and pray that Google keep your data secure enough!