First and foremost, consumers should know that Google now tracks your movements across all of its sites if you’re signed in to Google while surfing. Most of this tracking is to help tailor ads and news items to you according to your online habits, interests, and location. However, you share more than just your browser history.
Google collects information two ways: it gets personal data from a consumer when they sign up for its services, and gets data when a consumer uses its services. Many consumers are more concerned over their personal information privacy. Does Google share that? The company says it will share that information, but only if it has your consent to do so. It will, however, share non-personal information — like data that shows trends in Google usage — with the public and Google’s partners, including advertisers and publishers.
If you are concerned about Google sharing your personal information, including your web-surfing habits, you can take the following steps to prevent sharing more than you want.
1) Control the information linked to your Google account through the Google Dashboard. The company lets consumers see what information is collected there, so you know what they are already tracking. To prevent Google from tracking your web activity, turn off the browser history.
However, be aware that turning off the search history doesn’t mean that past data is deleted from Google’s archive. Eva Galperin of the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation told the Los Angeles Times, “With web history enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months.”
2) Edit your ad preferences through the Ads Preferences Manager program and opt out of Google advertising.
3) Verify who you share information with, control what your Google Profile looks like to other people, and tailor what you want certain individuals to see.
4) Don’t sign in to the Google account when going online, or consider using a different search engine. If you choose to leave Google, you can export personal data like emails from Gmail and files from Google Docs.
It takes a bit of legwork, but you can still safeguard your information from Google.