You wouldn’t voluntarily give out intimate details of your personal life to a large corporation. But when you use Google’s web services, you are volunteering up a host of private details to one of the world’s largest tech firms.

fingerprint

Google tracks everything you do through its devices, search engines, and other digital products. Using your IP address, it can harvest masses of information on your online and offline behaviors. These are the five most startling things that Google likely knows about you.

If you want to reduce the size of your digital fingerprint and prevent companies like Google accumulating your information, consider using a VPN service. You can find a list of the best VPN services here.

5 Shocking Things Google Knows About You

Everywhere You Go

If you are using Google maps to calculate your route and you have your location services on, Google can receive live updates of everywhere you are going and have been. You can see how much information Google has on your whereabouts by going to your Google Maps timeline. This is where Google stores all your previous journeys and destinations.

The implications for this are far-reaching. Law enforcement agencies are able to subpoena Google to share your location history. This means government bodies can access your information with a court order and view where and when you visited specific locations.

The good news is by going into the settings in Google Maps, you can change your settings and stop Google tracking you. It will do nothing to eliminate the information already gathered, but you can stop Google from gathering any more information on your whereabouts.

Your Email Correspondences

If you are using Gmail, Google’s email service, Google has access to all your emails. It can then use the contents of these emails to find products that may be of interest to you and target you with Google Ads on your favorite websites.

The idea of a company having access to all your emails is scary, but many people are happy to forgo this invasion of privacy in exchange for relevant and interesting advertisements. If you are not willing to make this sacrifice, you can go to your Google Ad settings and turn off personalized advertising; however, there is no indication that this actually stops Google from collecting the information, it merely stops them using it to send you ads.

Your Age and Interests

If you pay a visit to your Google Ad settings, you will be confronted by the profile Google has for you. At the top is your estimated age (it was absolutely correct for me). Among the personalization preferences, you will likely find many of your hobbies and interests, the city you live in, and any previous cities you lived in, as well as a number of websites you have previously visited or bought from.

Your Phone Number

Yes, tucked away in the depths of your account activity is your phone number, email addresses to all your email accounts (including those that are not Gmail accounts), your birthday and any payment information stored in the Google taskbar.

Everything You’ve Ever Googled

Remember that time in high school you asked Google what happens to a pigeon if it eats rice? Google does. Everything you have ever typed into Google is stored under the My Activity banner of your Google profile.

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