Today the world is online and rarely we see anyone who is offline. This puts a lot of information at our command. But most of us forget that the information exchange is mutual and two way in most cases. There are many facets of this complicated equation that we often ignore or forget. Privacy is a thing of the past, we are losing it in pieces to various websites every passing day. The biggest collector and holder of this information is Google. And you will be surprised how much Google knows about you. We will discuss this today.
First of all, how does Google collect information? Well, in more ways than one! Your gmail is the starting point, even the mails that you seemingly trash and forget are indexed and analyzed, the argument is that this is to serve relevant ads and links to you. Next is the SEO tracking channels. I was on a shopping portal, I use this one very often and regularly. One of these days, I tried to see the SEO code snippet that was used on the page and was shocked. I found a rude shock there!
You see, apart from tracking what I am buying, when I am buying and how many of what I am buying, google is also tracking exactly how much I am paying and what is the payment method! Yes, that is the depth of tracking google does. Now the explanation for this is that analytics and demographics data can be derived with this information. But why should I sell my privacy to help Google analytics? That is downright outrageous!
The next and totally open channel is your smartphone. I used to have a BlackBerry and then moved to Android Smartphones. I did some digging on what Google knows about me and I was surprised again! My entire contact list with phone numbers and times that I called them. There was even “helpful” data about who I called often. They know my Mobile network and my ISP. And here I am thinking that Facebook is jacking up my privacy! Compared to Google, Facebook is a baby!
How did I find all this? Well it s simple really. There is a dashboard that shows you all the information that Google has about you. And mine was a quite a revelation, literally eye-opening. Here is how you see it.
- Sign in to your google account
- Go to https://www.google.com/dashboard/
- Prepare to be shocked!
I found everything other than my blood group there, and I will mention it somewhere on Gtalk or something and that should also get there! And with the Inactive account manager, when I die, my wife can know “everything” about me!