I have looked at all the data that Google has about me, and I confirm that it is the definitive Big Brother
The Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018 made us all become more aware of our privacy. In general, we always tend to focus on Facebook, when there are other companies that are also collecting all your personal data on a daily basis. One of them is Google, which in fact has the potential to mine much more personal data than Facebook itself.
For this reason, I have downloaded and investigated all the data that the search engine company has been collecting about me, and I have had a few surprises that lead me to the conclusion that Google knows much more about me than Facebook itself. To give two examples, Google knows from which sites you are traveling to what applications you use on your Android mobile and when you run them.
Some of this data can be easily found on some data pages.But for others, just like I did with Facebook, I have used the Google Takeout tool to download a backup copy of everything they have on me. It is significant enough that this copy occupies several gigabytes. Something you should know is that you can configure it so that many of the data that Google has about you self-destruct when a certain time has passed.
One thing to keep in mind is that Google does not have to be selling or thoroughly reviewing this data, although there is also no way to ensure that they do not do so with any. However, in some cases it seems excessive even the simple fact that they collect some of them. So you know what I'm talking about, here is a list of the type of personal data that I've seen Google collect.
Where have you been in every moment
Google has a timeline feature in which it records all the movements you make when you have Google Maps location history enabled. This is usually activated by default on your devices, which means that if you do not change the settings deliberately it will follow all your steps through your mobile, tablet or any other device with which you are identified with your Google account.
The data is also presented to you in a most visual way. When I entered the web, I was able to see a map on which there were several points with all the places I have been. There are some trips that you have not been registering, possibly because I disabled this option in the past, but with some excuse or other, such as offering you better information about the sites you are on, Google has always managed to make it return to it. Activate.
At the top left there is a screen that shows you how much you have walked each day, and if you click on the days, information will appear on where you have moved. No, this does not mean that it simply knows that you have left your town to go to the next city, but rather that it records every stop you make or every establishment you pass by.
All these data Google presents them in an orderly and chronological way, showing you what time you have left a site, the means of transport you have been on and what stops you have made. It is surprising the thoroughness with which Google records everything, knowing for example that this day that I stayed with some coworkers in a Valencia market, I stopped a minute earlier to withdraw money at a specific ATM and then we went to this and another site to take something.
In addition, in the event that you have gone on a trip taking many photos, Google will also know where and when you took the photos with your mobile, and it will show you everything in an orderly way seeing how you made the way and where you made the Photos. It even distinguishes the journeys you made by car and those made on foot.
History with the coordinates of all your locations
And beyond this tool, with the Google backup I have also found other surprises. On the one hand there is a folder with a history of locations, in which you can see the coordinates by which you have moved in recent days and the way in which you have done so. It is like Google Maps, but with the raw code.
History with the data of all your Google Fit workouts
It also saves the activities you have registered using Google Fit. Here I have found two different folders, one with all the exercises you have done using this app, with hours and coordinates, and the other with a daily file in which you can see all the movements added at any time. I have not used this application for years, but there is everything I did when I tried it in 2014.
Follow on Instagram
What are you looking for and where do you enter the Internet
Everything you look for and do on the Internet
Google also has a My Activity section in which it collects and stores all the searches you do on the Internet. And the most worrying thing is that in this history you will not only find what you have searched in the Google.com search engine, but also the searches you have made through the Chrome browser or your Android mobile.
The truth is that when looking at my chronology I could not help but feel a little uncomfortable, especially since all the data is perfectly organized and accompanied by links. In this way, you can know that you have searched for certain terms and click on them again to see the search results, but you can also know which Twitter or Facebook profiles you have visited or the pages you have entered.
In addition to this, Google also collects when you use other platforms like Stadia. Even if you just press the button Discover From the Google application to see the topics that Google itself considers important to you, it is compiling which are the topics on which you have been shown information each time.
Details of the sections you visit on some websites.
What's more, within some pages it also tells you in which sections you have browsed. For example, this morning I consulted my feeds in Feedly, and all the sections that I have visited appear to me. This becomes a little more worrisome with the topic of the forums, since it tells you the title of each thread that you have visited within the same forum, and even offers you links to return to it.
Google keeps the data even if you delete the history of your browser
The web also records how many times you use each mobile application, and even in some cases like Just eat I have also seen the profiles that I have entered into the application. And what is worse, all this data continues to appear even if you delete the history of Chrome. I tried to delete the pages that I entered today with the browser, and they kept appearing on the page of My Activity.
And what implications does this have? Well, not only that Google knows exactly EVERYTHING you do on the Internet if you use its products, but that anyone who stands in front of your computer will be able to know it, since when entering My Activity Google does not ask me to confirm my identity. Come on, your roommate or co-worker can gossip with relative ease.
EVERYTHING you do on YouTube
YouTube belongs to Google, so everything it stores too, and as you already know it also stores a history with your video searches. It also stores ALL the comments that you have been leaving, or the specific videos that you have been visiting while you were identified with your account. You can also find the complete list of subscriptions, playlists or copies of all the videos you have uploaded
In the backup of my data I have also seen that Google keeps data from various applications with which you can know almost everything about what I do every day. For example, keep a copy of my Google Calendar, so that you can know all the events that I have attended or meetings that I have had, at least if I have been adding them in that application.
Everything you upload to the cloud, even what you delete
It is evident that if you use the Google cloud, the company will keep all the files you upload to it. And so I have been able to verify it in the backup of my data, where in the folder Drive I have been able to see all the folders and files that I have uploaded to Google Drive. Of course, I have not seen that the documents are shared with me.
What was there are some of the files that I thought I had deleted from Google Drive. Apparently, Google should keep some of them "just in case". I guess covering your back in case you wanted to get them back in the short term.
Obviously, there is also a folder with all my Google Keep notes, as well as another with each and every one of the photos that I have uploaded to Google Photos. In this case, luckily it seems that at least the photos you have erased from the cloud no longer keep them.
Your Google Photos Photos ordered chronologically, and bonus track those sent by Hangouts.
In addition to the photos I have deliberately uploaded to the cloud, I have also found myself in the backup with the photos I have sent via Hangouts, neatly organized with folders with the names of the contacts. Of course, what does not seem to store are the conversations themselves. Or at least don't download them.
In addition, in the backup you can also see all the emails that have been sent and received, including those that you have already deleted or that are classified as spam. This needs to be "thanked" for interactions with Gmail.
All your phone contacts
Taking into account that even Facebook does it, it is not surprising that Google also stores all the contacts of your mobiles, of all the mobiles where you have used your Google account. In the folder Contacts, you can see the list of all the mobiles you have used, and in each of them there is a file with the contacts.
All your contacts are saved in a vcf format that you can easily import into any post manager. The most peculiar thing about this folder is that there are also different subfolders in which the photographs that you may have assigned to each of them are stored.
All the apps you use on Android and when
On a personal level, what has most impressed me of everything I have found is a complete chronology of each application that I open on Android. It's in Takeout's backup, in the folder My activity. In it there are several folders with information, and in the so-called Android There is an HTML file with everything I do on mobile.
In this way, Google knows for example that on April 2 at 15:11 I opened Telegram, and that only 11 minutes before Slack had opened. It also knows the times at which I have turned on the phone, when I have been looking at photos in the gallery, when maintenance actions are carried out on the device or when I install an application.Google records when and what time you use each app on your Android mobile.
Honestly, I have found an explanation for most of the data that Google stores, since in the end it is a company that offers online services, and it has to manage the data of everything we do in it. But it is that it does not fit in my head the reason why Google needs to know everything I do at all times with my mobile.
All apps that access your data
Google also has a history of applications with permission to access your account, which in this case you can access online without having to download it. It shows all the apps to which you have given access to your Google credentials, and specifies what type of data each one accesses.
This list, however, can be quite useful when taking care of your privacy a little, since it tells you what type of data each one has access to. For example, Feedly only takes away my basic account information, while I've seen some seemingly innocent games access my Google Drive, Google+, and Google Play account.
What you do in the rest of their services
As I mentioned before, Google is a company that lives off its online services, so it is logical that they keep copies of what we do in them. For example, although they are not services that you use, there are folders from Android Pay, G Suite Marketplace, Google My Business or Google Pay Send transactions. I have also been able to see files of the books purchased in Google Play Books, although not the books themselves, as well as my tracks from Google Play Music.
And an example in which it does not matter how long you have been without using an application I have found when seeing that Google conserves data from a blog that I had years ago in Blogger. Specifically, there is the blog template, as well as the images that I used as the cover.
Also, if you have used or have ever used Google Groups, Google also keeps a copy of your searches, the groups you have visited and in which you have recently published. It also has all your comments on YouTube or your messages in direct chat if you got to use the feature.
A profile with all your interests
Topics that I like ... according to Google
And finally, Google also has a profile with all your interests. This is ad-oriented, so it's the one it uses to show you specific ads that it thinks might interest you. Obviously, this profile has been created based on your interactions on the network, and the type of content you usually search for online.
You can see the profile HERE. In my case I have to say that he practically succeeds in the topics he assigns me, although it is also true that they are all quite generic. It does not have topics as specific or as detailed as those that I found when I saw my advertising profile on Facebook, although it is also true that the number of hits in those suggested is higher.
The topics I don't like are BAD
In addition to the topics that I like, Google also has a list with those that do not. The only problem is that it classifies as I don't like many themes that do, that is, something has to be wrong. I suppose this is due to some specific ads that I did not like about topics that interest me, that Google will have thought that when reporting them as uninteresting what I do not like is their theme.