How to discover what Google knows about you

Google has created a reputation with a double-edge sword in recent years. On the one hand, it’s a giant web of quality technical services; on the other hand it suffers from criticism about how it uses private data to make money. To be more transparent about its practices, Google created the service ‘My Business’ to provide a quick overview of what Google knows about us.

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Behind the technological miracle lurks the demon of private data

The least we can say is that Google’s reputation leaves a lot to be desired on the subject of personal data. It’s obvious that a company of its size is looking to make a profit, and as many Google products are (mostly) free, revenue has to come from somewhere else.

Google’s strategy is focused on using accumulated user information in order to serve targeted ads, as Facebook and many internet businesses also do to monetize their platforms. In other words, the more Google knows about you, the more you will see things that will probably interest you. While most users understand that Google needs to make money to function as a company, they have the opinion that Google is interested in their actions to collect private information.

Here is what My Activity looks like. / © ANDROIDPIT

The tool ‘My activity’ was created for transparency

You’ve probably heard the slogan, “There is no bad publicity.” The negative opinions of Google are like the submerged part of the iceberg because, like it or not, users do not see what is hidden beneath the murky waters of the tech giant. In order to offer targeted advertising, Google is interested in our habits to see what might interest us.

Anyway, Google seems to be tired of hearing that it steals private information and exploits it for profit. Google wants to improve its image by giving users the ability to see everything it knows and allow them to customize it. By logging on to My Activity page using your Google credentials, you will see a timeline of what Google has accumulated about you. You will find, among other things, whatever you’ve typed into the search engine or YouTube.

AndroidPIT Google apps 2
It’s free, it’s convenient, but optimized for commercials. © ANDROIDPIT

This tool does not just display the history of all you can do with Google on the web, you also find a list of apps used if your account is associated with your smartphone. In my case, I was able to find the date and time I used WhatsApp, Instagram etc. I assume Nexus and Pixel devices probably show more results here. Anyway, we will soon know more because Google seems to want to optimize this tool.

Google can optimize its targeted advertising by giving you the ability to manage or delete the data yourself. You can disable the collection of information on your web activities and applications, but this doesn’t mean that Google will not record anything on your account (as you can see on ‘My Business’). If you want more information, you can go to the Google Support page.

Do you think this tool is a smokescreen? Does Google really want to achieve greater transparency, or is this just to silence negative rumors?

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