Internet Privacy: What Google Knows

What don’t we google these days? I’m using the word as a verb (the action of looking something up) rather than the proper name of a company, with a capital “G”. We google how to fix our plumbing, restaurant reviews, where movies are playing, sports scores. Even if you can’t spell it right, Google can probably show you what you are looking for. What a fabulous free service, right?

You probably know I’m going to remind you that nothing is “free” on the Internet. The price for having all the knowledge in the world at your fingertips is giving almost all of your personal information to Google.

Does that sound harsh? It’s true to say that Google probably knows everything you’ve ever typed into a browser’s search bar. It knows every YouTube video you’ve watched. It can also know where you are right now, where you’ve been, what you’ve bought, and who you communicated with. Any information about you that has been put online (pics from the bachelor party, arrest for DUI, etc.), Google can help other people find about you. In Europe, it is now law that people “have the right to be forgotten” and you can request that some information about you be taken down.

What Can You Do?

If you want to reduce your online footprint, start with going through your current privacy settings to see if you are still okay with what others can see.

Next, you can see what Google knows about you. Here is a link (it’s self-explanatory.) Be sure to check all your Google accounts.

Clear your Google history. This does not mean that it has been deleted, but it means Google won’t use your history to personalize other services (like ads.)

Advertising is how Google primarily uses our information now, but our information will also be used to optimize artificial-intelligence-based services (AI) currently in development.

It’s A Lot To Wrap Your Head Around

Honestly, it would be tough to completely shut Google out of our lives now. One of the immediate effects is that we would have to give up a number of services we likely use daily. And, as we add hardware products like Google Home or Nest, or we add a software service like Google Assistant, we tacitly agree to the quid pro quo. Info for service. No free lunch.

If you have questions about how your personal information online can impact your business, give us a call at Aptica. We’ve seen some interesting things that would be good for you to know.

Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium sized businesses for 16 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.

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