What does Google know about you? Yes, 'EVERYTHING'
With its algorithms and analytics tools, it probably knows more about you than You know about Yourself. But presented in its totality, it’s still a bit creepy to look at a history of every single Google search you’ve ever done.
The company has now made it possible for you to export that history and download it from its servers. In one ZIP file, you can have a time stamped history of every random bit of trivia or thought you’ve ever had; of every restaurant you’ve ever cared to Yelp; of the times you looked up whether that movie you wanted to see was actually any good.
It has a record of the times you’ve looked up hangover cures and searched weird symptoms to perform a self diagnosis. It knows that you looked up the address to the hospital to visit a loved one and it knows that you didn’t know the address to the funeral home a week later. And it knows every time you didn’t turn on Incognito mode to search for porn.
Again, this is not necessarily surprising, but it is striking. We know Google uses its connected products and the information it has on you to help target ads and to personalise your experience, which makes using Google feel seamless. Maybe you’re fine with that — lots of people are willing to trade privacy for convenience, or for something that costs them no money. But what if you’re not?
Google’s not the only one who uses your search history, of course. The record it has can be and often is subpoenaed by the government or by law enforcement.
In the first half of last year (more recent data is not yet available), the US requested user information, including search history, from Google 12,539 times. Google complied in 84 per cent of cases. There are concerns that the NSA can tap the data as well. Google says that “only you can see your history,” but how true is that, really?
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