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What Does Google Know About You?
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What Does Google Know About You?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — August 14, 2018

First, I'd like to tell you a story. I won't say whether it's true or not, I will pass it on exactly as I heard it told. Just imagine. The phone rings:

- Pizzeria Google. Good morning, we're listening to you!

 - Pizza what?

- Pizzeria Google. Can I take your order?

- But ... Isn't this Don Tomato pizzeria?

- That was our former name. Google bought it and now we've become more of a full service establishment.

- Great. Well, are you going to take my order?

- Of course! Do you want to repeat your usual order?

- My usual order? How do you know what that is?

 - Well we have your customer ID, and we know that the last 53 times that you ordered from us you got the "Vesuvius" with double cheese and ham, plus a bottle of Budweiser.

- Wow, I didn't realize you kept all that on record...! Alright, send over the usual.

- Excuse me; can I give you some advice?

- Certainly.

 - Do you have our full menu?

- No.

- This is the most complete menu, and I would like to advise you, instead of your usual, to get a pizza with cottage cheese and herbs, and a bottle of low-sodium mineral water.

- Cottage cheese? Greens? Low-sodium? Are you crazy? I hate that!

- I understand, but it's good for your health. Besides, you have a very high cholesterol count.

- How do you know that?

- Our company has the largest database on the planet. We know your name through your phone number and therefore have access to your tests at the clinic.

- I don't care about your database! I don't want the cottage cheese and greens pizza! I'm on medication, so I can eat whatever I want, okay?

 - I'm sorry, but you haven't taken your pills lately.

- How the hell do you know? Are you spying on me in my own house?

- No, no! We just have a database of all the pharmacies in the city, and the last time you were at one was 3 months ago. And there's only 30 pills in each package.

- Damn, it's true. How did you know that?

- From your credit card.

- What?

- Yes, when you pay at the pharmacy using your Bank MMM credit card, you get a discount. All your credit card charges are in our database. But for the last 3 months, you haven't bought anything there, you've made plenty of purchases elsewhere, which means you haven't lost your credit card.

 - You're a pain... and how do you know that I haven't been buying my pills with cash? Hmm? What do you have to say to that?

 - That's impossible. You only cash payment is $100 a week to your maid, everything else you pay by credit card.

 - Bastards! How do you know how much I pay the maid?

 - From her social security payments

- Fuck you!

- As you wish. I'm sorry, but all this information is on my screen and I just want to help you. I think you should go see your doctor and get the tests you did last month to confirm the dosage of the medication.

- Listen, you...! I'm fed up with you, and your computers, and databases, and the Internet, and Google, and FACEBOOK, and TWITTER, and the lack of privacy in the twenty-FIRST century, and this damn government...

- Please don't worry. It's all in your best interest...

- Shut up! I'm going somewhere far away from all this shit tomorrow. I'm going to Fiji, or wherever there's no internet, no computers, no phone, no people who will be watching me all the time!

- I understand you...

- I'll use my credit card for the last time to buy a plane ticket and fly to the end of the world!

 - Fine ...

- Can you take out the pizza order? I don't want it.

 - Okay ... already taken. If you'll just let me... one little detail, if you'll excuse us....

- WHAT the HELL else?

- I just want to remind you that your passport is expired.

This story is possibly funny, but it's a reality where we live today. You ask the question, just how does Google know all of this? Although “Google it” has officially entered the cultural lexicon, the mega-corporation is much more than a search engine. It’s through its apps, such as a Google Chrome, Google Search, Gmail, Google Photos, Music, News, Books, Shopping, etc., Internet-related services, acquired companies and more that the technology company collects data on you.

Google’s apps give the company a wealth of information on you, from the personal details that make up who you are to your interests, your past travels, and your future goals. You fill out the application form with all the information that Google needs. Every instant message, page click, and step you take for the new profile in social networks.

From what you’ve searched for online and the websites you’ve visited to who your contacts are and what you talk about with them to your audio recordings and intuitive search, Google knows a lot about you.

Facebook alone uses nearly one hundred data points to target ads to you. Telecoms have access to extremely detailed information on your location. Apple has biometric data.

Also watching your every move are web trackers. So-called “Cookie-syncing” is one of the ways advertisers can follow you around the internet.

The internet brokers are also creating detailed profiles on almost everyone. They study your purchases, financial history, internet activity, and even psychographic attributes, and then give the information to advertisers in order to help them determine, among other things, how much money a particular individual is able to spend.

"Data brokers trade on the privacy of consumers and operate in the shadows," said former Senator and American comedian Al Franken.

Digital profiles are then sorted into one of the thousands of categories to help optimize advertising.

Although the optimizing of clickthroughs is a giant business, companies are increasingly moving beyond advertising to extract value from their growing data. Amalgamated data is increasingly being viewed as a clever way to assess risk in the decision-making process, as an example hiring, insurance, loan or housing applications, and the stakes for consumers are going up in the process.

Today the data is what fuels the information economy.

Like many other enterprising tech giants, Google must accumulate massive amounts of personal data to monetize its services – and in the process, the company develops an astonishingly robust picture of what you’re all about.

Now we will try to describe WHAT GOOGLE KNOWS.

Let's imagine again, the man creates a new Google account. The company instantly offers the user to download Maps, Music, and Books, grounded in his interests.

Because Google is used by everyone, the man also uses all its benefits.

  • Then Google starts to know what you look like, what you sound like, your political and religious beliefs, and how healthy you are. The search giant also knows if you have children when you wrote about your family status and information about your parents, to boot.
  • Then you use Maps. Google uses location tracking to know where you live, where you work, and everywhere you’ve traveled.
  • You also use social networking. Google knows who you talk to, and what you talk about. It also knows who you’ve been with, and when.
  • Based on your search queries, when you use Search, Maps or social networking, Google knows the food, books, movies, videos, religious/political beliefs, and stores that you like or dislike. Google also knows your future life plans.
  • Google knows about your health status, as in a joke in this article. For this, you just need to have downloaded the Google Fit program.
  • Google knows your voice. It seems strange, but if you’ve ever used voice commands with Google Home, an Android device, or any other Google product or device, the site has a log of it.
  • Google keeps a comprehensive list of every site you’ve visited on Chrome, from any device. The site also keeps a running tab of every search you’ve run, every ad you’ve clicked on and every YouTube video you’ve watched.
  • And Google has information you deleted. There's a Google Drive for it. It is about code, files, and websites, your photos, your résumé, monthly budget, etc.

You're scared now, are you?

If you’re unnerved by the amount of information Google has on you, there are several steps you can take to get around the company’s relentless tracking. For example,

  • Use private browser
  • Use a different browser for searches
  • Turn off your location settings
  • Delete your Google accounts
  • Use a VPN

According to Pew Research, 91% of Americans “agree” or “strongly agree” that people have lost control over how personal information is collected and used. And although Google has made life a lot simpler in many ways, it also has made it scarier.

Google Search has made answers just a click away. Google Maps has made directions easy to find and understand. Google Drive has made working across multiple platforms seamless.

This convenience comes with a price: privacy. It is possible that many of its options can be particularly unnecessary. But if you want to run away from Google's round the clock monitoring, you will be forced to make a choice.

Author: USA Really