Everyone one knows by now that Google sucks up and sells massive amounts of its user’s personal data. Five years ago, that notion could have been labeled as a conspiracy theory, but today is just common knowledge.
How does it get all that data from you in the first place? It gets it from the Android devices you own, the Google apps and services you use. Google routinely says that its data collection improves its services, clearly that is not their only motivation when they makes billions off of your data. Most Android phones are sold at a loss or almost no profit at all, so why does Google keep making Android? The answer, data it collects from the Google front end that is your phone makes them way more money than selling a phone. If you must use any of Google’s services, how can you limit your exposure?
Chrome browser and Google Search
To limit your exposure to Google on the web you can do a few things. Let’s start with choosing an alternative web browser. Second try a search engine like DuckDuckGo or Startpage. Now lets sign into Google and locate Activity Controls under your Google account online. The data that Google has on you is separated into six sections. You can turn off tracking of any kind in every section with the toggle switches.
The first two sections are Web & App Activity and Location History. Under Web & App Activity you will see nearly everything you do and search for while using its apps and services. Tap on Manage Activity to see Google’s detailed logs files on you. You will see webpages you visited, web searches you ran and the apps you have opened on your Android or Chrome OS devices. You can delete this data by selecting the ‘Delete Activity by’ button on the left then select All Time as the date range and All Products as the filter, this will delete all the data Google has one you under the Web & App Activity category.
The second major section is Location History, which gathers data from your Phone, Chromebook, or other Google made products or Android running products made by others. Once under this section you will want to select Manage Activity, these records and data is shown visually on a map. Records are shown by red dots on a global map. To erase this data click on the trash can in the right hand corner.
Under Device information you can see all the devices where you are logged into a Google service and your Google made devices. Under Web & App Activity you can tap Delete All.
Under Voice and Audio Activity, which is where your Google Assistant commands are stored. Tap Manage Activity then select Delete Activity by button to delete everything.
The last two sections are for Google’s video service, YouTube. Yes Google owns YouTube, its okay, many people still don’t’ know that they do. Under YouTube Search History and YouTube Watch History, find the Delete Activity by link to delete everything.
If it isn’t clear yet, Google collects mountains of data on your searches, documents, combs through you Gmail and tracks you location. Ultimately you have to choose if you trust a company that sells your personal data or another company who does not.