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Infographic: How Much Does Google Know About You?

 

If you’re unnerved by the amount of information Google has on you, there are several steps you can take to get around the company’s relentless tracking.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure option to keep Google from tracking you while you’re online. Although virtual private networks can’t completely keep the company from accessing your data, they do hide your IP address, encrypt your Internet traffic and make your browsing history private, keeping your online actions much more secure.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure option to keep Google from tracking you while you’re online Click To Tweet
Private browsing

Use Google’s Incognito Mode to ensure that the pages you access won’t show up in your browsing history or search history. Be aware, however, that other websites can still collect and share information about you, even when you’re using private browsing.

Use Google’s Incognito Mode to ensure that the pages you access won’t show up in your browsing history Click To Tweet
Adjust your privacy settings

Check out Google’s Activity Controls to change what data is stored about you and visit your Activity Page to delete stored history and activity.

Check Google’s Activity Controls to change what data is stored about you Click To Tweet
Turn off location reporting

In Google Maps — as well as in your Android and Pixel device settings, if you use those products — disable location reporting to keep Google from tracking where you are and where you go. If you use Google Maps or Waze for directions, though, the company can still collect location data on you when you’re using those apps.

Disable location reporting to keep Google from tracking where you are Click To Tweet
Use a different browser and search engine

To stop Google from tracking your searches and website visits, you can use another browser and search engine, like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Bing. However, this will only stop Google from tracking you — Microsoft (or whatever company owns the browser you switch to) will get your data instead.

To stop Google from tracking your searches and website visits, use another browser and search engine, like Internet Explorer and Bing Click To Tweet
Delete your Google accounts

To truly stop the tech giant from tracking you, you’ll need to take some drastic measures — namely, disavowing the use of any of the company’s products. That means deleting any apps linked to the company, including Gmail, Google Drive and any Android devices, and moving to a different browser and search engine.

Stopping the tech giant from tracking you requires drastic measures Click To Tweet

Google has made life a lot simpler in many ways. Google Search has made answers just a click away. Google Maps has made directions easy to find and understand. Google Drive has made working across multiple platforms seamless.

This convenience comes with a price: privacy. If you’re concerned about how Google is tracking you — and what they’re doing with the data — follow the steps above to keep yourself safe, and visit Google’s Privacy Site for a more comprehensive overview of what data Google is tracking and how they use it.

Google has made life a lot simpler in many ways, but all this convenience comes with a price: privacy Click To Tweet

What Does Google Know About You

Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.