Some would say there’s a fine line between the children’s song Getting to Know You and George Orwell’s 1984.
The hard fact is, unless you want to go into total-hermit mode and live off the grid, you’re sharing personal information whether you want to or not.
Since that’s the case, you may as well be proactive about it.
Google, Facebook, and other social platforms have the ability to go where you might not want them to tread, but there are ways to limit what they see and learn.
Google, for one, offers a set of tools that allow you to do just that. These are the most common:
1. Your social profile
You clearly realize Google collects data about you and creates a profile in order to show you ads relevant to your interests. You can control and review the information Google has on you here:
If you’re a clued-in e-commerce entrepreneur, you also know about Google Analytics, which helps publishers review data such as:
- what site you visited before you came to theirs
- what pages you’ve viewed on their website,
- how many times you have visited it,
- how long you stayed, and
- where you went next.
Full disclosure: We’re doing that on your visit right now. Like most publishers, we’re working to determine how we can be the most efficient resource possible for you.
However, you can tell us where to put a sock in it with this opt-out browser add-on:
2. Your location history
GPS is wonderful for the here-and-now, but if you don’t want your movements kept on file and you’re an Android user, your mobile device is likely sending your location to Google unless you hit stealth mode.
You can see your entire location history here:
3. Review your entire search history
Google saves every single search you’ve ever done.
On top of that, it records every Google ad you’ve ever clicked.
This log is available in Google web history controls:
4. Obtain a monthly security and privacy report
Google offers an Account activity page telling you about every Google service you’re using.
You can even enable a monthly report that will be sent to your email:
5. See what apps and extensions are using your data
The Account activity page also offers a list of all the apps that have any type of access to your data.
You can see the exact type of permissions granted to the app and revoke access to your data here:
6. Export your data from Google
Google lets you export all your data:
- drive files,
- profile info,
- your youtube videos,
- photos and more
7. See all your YouTube searches
That’s right. Google’s separate search engine has a record of every cat you’ve ever sought out, and everything else, too.