I like to think I’m quite technology minded. I know that Google scans my inbox for spam/security and for advertising purposes. I’ve opted to let Google keep a record of my internet searches in their web search history (note to the paranoid – they have this information anyway and could hand it over to the security services if required). I know that Google Now looks for ways it can help me based on my web surfing – for example surf for a place on my computer and my phone offers me directions and journey times without being asked.
I’ve opted to give up a certain amount of privacy in order to get maximum benefit from the other services Google offer – I’m fine with that. You can see what information Google holds about you by looking in your Google account under the account history tab. You can see the sort of information they keep below:
You can glean some interesting facts from these options, for example I search Google more on a Sunday…
I was a little surprised by how much information they hold about my location. I check into public facing services like Facebook but hadn’t given a thought to the fact that my phone checks my location several times a day and that Google actively stores your location on their servers. Have a look and see where you have been over the last thirty days – it certainly opened my eyes. This is where Google has tracked me over the last month.
I won’t be changing the way I use Google or starting to wear a tinfoil hat but I do think that as a user you should be aware what information Google holds about you.
Disclaimer – I’m sure the same is true of Bing and other internet services to a certain extent, but as I don’t use them as much as Google, they won’t hold as much information on me.