I think all of us use Google services in one way or another, be it Search, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps or a host of other services from the tech titan.
Because of the fact that that Google is embedded in many of the services we actually use on a daily basis, there is no doubt that they have a lot of information relating to us. Not necessarily because they want to use this information in a sinister way but they use this information to deliver specific content to each user on a case-by-case basis.
I recently realised that there’s a very simple way of getting to see all the information that Google has on you. The information you can check on includes:
- The apps you’re opening (Android users)
- YouTube history
- Google Search history (including Google Play Music & other Google services)
- Google Chrome
- Google Maps history
I’m not sure if this is the only data collected but that’s what was being collected from me. What’s clear to me after looking at this list is that the more Google services/products you use, the more information they have about you.
Google knows what’s good for you
Google does explain how the service works and they claim to be doing it for your own good. The data they collect is reportedly used to refine your experience:
When you use certain Google services, like Search, YouTube, or Chrome, your activity can be saved as data to your account. This activity helps make your experience on Google faster and more useful. Activity is saved when you’re signed in to your Google Account. Your Activity controls, like Web & App Activity and YouTube watch history, control most of the activity that’s saved to your account.
What this means is that, if you’re simply uncomfortable with the data Google collects you could use some of their services without signing into your google account. This experience will probably be unbearable as you won’t even be able to use some of the services without signing in. For services such as access to Gmail or the Google Play Store you cannot use them without signing. For other services like YouTube, using them without signing in will be painful, as the application won’t remember your preferences and you can’t have playlists as those are only linked to signed-in accounts.
The convenient path…
If you’re not comfortable with Google having this much data about you, what you can do alternatively is to just delete the information. If you go to Google’s My Activity page, you can actually delete ALL or SOME of the data they have collected from your usage. The process of deleting the information is relatively simple. The delete option is actually on the My Activity home page and is not hidden in some complicated settings menu: