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Privacy:What Google knows about you

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#1 Chachazz


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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:14 PM

"Google knows more about you than your mother."
By Robert L. MitchellMay 11, 2009 12:00 PM ET

"It's easy to understand why privacy advocates and policymakers are sounding alarms about online privacy in general -- and singling out Google in particular.

Google stores tremendous amounts of data about you and your activities on its servers, from the content you create to the searches you perform, the Web sites you visit and the ads you click."

  • Google's search engine:
    Google knows what you searched for as well as your activity on partner Web sites that use its ad services.
  • Chrome browser: it may know every Web site you've typed into the address bar, or "Omnibox."
  • G-Mail has all your e-mail (Google)
  • Google Calendar (Google)
  • Last known location (Google Latitude).
  • It may know what you're watching (YouTube) and whom you are calling.
  • ITranscripts of your telephone messages (Google Voice).
  • Your photos in Picasa Web Albums, which includes face-recognition technology that can automatically identify you and your friends in new photos.
  • And - Google Books, it may know what books you've read, what you annotated and how long you spent reading.

"It is the breathtaking scope of data under Google's control, generated by an expanding list of products and services, that has put the company at the center of the online privacy debate. According to Pam Dixon, executive director at the World Privacy Forum, "No company has ever had this much consumer data" -- an assertion that Google disputes."

Article: Computer World

6 ways to protect your privacy on Google

#2 Chachazz


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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:24 PM

As of March 11, Google and third parties in its AdSense network are using not just contextual information (what you're searching for) but a history of previously viewed Web pages to serve up targeted advertising. The idea is to serve up ads that are more relevant to your interests.

You can remove interest categories Google has attributed to you or add others by visiting its Ad Preferences page. You can also opt out. To make the opt-out setting permanent, however, you'll need to install a plug-in for each browser you use. It's available for IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Hint: Do Not Allow Third Party Cookies in your Browser - done!

#3 Chachazz


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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:23 PM

...let?s have a look at how Google is gathering information from you, and about you.

Google?s information-gathering channels

Google?s stated mission is ?to organize the world?s information and make it universally accessible and useful? and it is making good on this promise. However, Google is gathering even more information than most of us realize.
  • Searches (web, images, news, blogs, etc.) ? Google is, as you all know, the most popular search engine in the world with a market share of almost 70% (for example, 66% of searches in the US are made on Google). Google tracks all searches, and now with search becoming more and more personalized, this information is bound to grow increasingly detailed and user specific.

  • Clicks on search results ? Not only does Google get information on what we search for, it also gets to find out which search results we click on.

  • Web crawling ? Googlebot, Google?s web crawler, is a busy bee, continuously reading and indexing billions of web pages.

  • Website analytics ? Google Analytics is by far the most popular website analytics package out there. Due to being free and still supporting a number of advanced features, it?s used by a large percentage of the world?s websites.

  • Ad serving ? Adwords and Adsense are cornerstones of Google?s financial success, but they also provide Google with a lot of valuable data. Which ads are people clicking on, which keywords are advertisers bidding on, and which ones are worth the most? All of this is useful information.

  • Email ? Gmail is one of the three largest email services in the world, together with competing options from Microsoft (Hotmail) and Yahoo. Email content, both sent and received, is parsed and analyzed. Even from a security standpoint this is a great service for Google.

  • Google?s email security service, Postini, gets a huge amount of data about spam, malware and email security trends from the huge mass of Gmail users.

  • Twitter ? ?All your tweets are belong to us,? to paraphrase an early Internet meme. Google has direct access to all tweets that pass through Twitter after a deal made late last year.

  • Google Apps (Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar, etc.) ? Google?s office suite has many users and is of course a valuable data source to Google.

  • Google Public Profiles ? Google encourages you to put a profile about yourself publicly on the Web, including where you can be found on social media sites and your homepage, etc.

  • Orkut ? Google?s social network isn?t a success everywhere, but it?s huge in some parts of the world (mainly Brazil and India).

  • Google Public DNS ? Google?s newly launched DNS service doesn?t just help people get fast DNS lookups, it helps Google too, because it will get a ton of statistics from this, for example what websites people access.

  • Google Chrome browser ? What is your web browsing behavior? What sites do you visit?

  • Google Finance ? Aside from the finance data itself, what users search for and use on Google Finance is sure to be valuable data to Google.

  • YouTube ? The world?s largest and most popular video site by far is, as you know, owned by Google. It gives Google a huge amount of information about its users? viewing habits.

  • Google Translate ? Helps Google perfect its natural language parsing and translation.

  • Google Books ? Not huge for now, but has the potential to help Google figure out what people are reading and want to read.

  • Google Reader ? By far the most popular feed reader in the world. What RSS feeds do you subscribe to? What blog posts do you read? Google will know.

  • Feedburner ? Most blogs use Feedburner to publicize their RSS feeds, and every Feedburner link is tracked by Google.

  • Google Maps and Google Earth ? What parts of the world are you interested in?

  • Your contact network ? Your contacts in Google Talk, Gmail, etc, make up an intricate network of users. And if those also use Google, the network can be mapped even further. We don?t know if Google does this, but the data is there for the taking.

  • Coming soon ? Chrome OS, Google Wave, more up-and-coming products from Google.