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A basic understanding of what Google does with your data

Google is the most used search engine in the world and you will notice that they do acquire quite a lot of your personal data while you use their services. While there are many alternatives, some of which don’t collect your data, it’s still very convenient to use Google because it has way more exposure. It’s extremely fast and very reliable. But it’s important to know the Google privacy settings and what data they are collecting, just to be safe. Your online privacy is worth it.

What data is collected or tracked by Google?

That will depend based on what services you are using. Chrome will collect browser history and the websites you visited. Google Search will collect queries, Gmail will collect emails sent/received, contacts and email content. And then you have ads, which will collect the topics you are interested in.

Google Fit will collect fitness levels and Goals, Google Maps will acquire the locations visited, dates of travel, methods of transportation, places searched and so on. moreover, Google calendar will track your appointments and upcoming plans, YouTube collects the videos watched, liked and uploaded, Waze will collect places searched, locations you visited and directions.  Lastly, Google Books will collect the books read and searched and Google Shopping will collect the products you searched and clicked on. 

Aside from that info collected as you use their services, Google will also require personal information when you sign up for their services too. This includes name, birthday and gender, pass, phone number, contacts you add, docs, slides and sheets, YouTube comments, emails you write and so on. As long as you use a Google service, based on the Google privacy policy, they have the right to acquire that information. This might not be the best news in terms of online privacy. But they can’t use it without your consent, and you do have the Google privacy settings that you can customize.

What are they doing with your data?

The first thing that Google does with your data is it understands who you are, where you are located and then they adapt their services to suit your needs. They will localize your content and they will also facilitate advertising to ensure that you receive the right ads. For the most part, all your data is anonymized, so even if it’s shared with third parties, they don’t state your name or anything like that.

Is it safe to use Google?

Millions of people are using it without concerns, and you can continue using it as well if it feels right. Google is keeping your data safe and encrypted, and they are not sharing your personal info without your consent. However, they are using the info to personalize ads and they can share usage info in the form of statistics if necessary.

Of course, you can feel free to avoid using their services if you have any kind of concerns. Google is a secure company and you do have the Google privacy settings to customize your experience the way you always wanted. So while you might believe that your privacy is affected, you do have complete control over how they use your data, and you can delete your info at any time. Google tracks a lot of your internet usage, so tweaking these settings might not be a bad idea. Always stay on top of your own online privacy. Check out these tips from Mashable: 7 Google privacy settings you should enable now

 Just remember: when a product is free, you are most likely the product.

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