Why Is Google Tracking You – And How Does It Do It?

Why Is Google Tracking You – And How Does It Do It?
The Siliconreview
26 May, 2023

Whenever we use the internet, we all know that we’re putting our private information into a public space.

This is part of the reason why crime novelists are so scared to do research. It’s easy to imagine the FBI crashing through the door within seconds of a Google search, even if a search is carried out with good intentions because we all know that Google tracks what we do.

Whether we’re looking at the weather in the morning or simply checking out a review for a new film, Google knows about it, and it is tracking our every move.

But Why Should You Be Concerned?

So how much of a problem is that? As mentioned before, unless you’re doing anything that is obviously wrong, it’s unlikely that the FBI is going to be banging on your door in the early hours of the morning. So why should you worry?

Well, the concerning part comes in the fact that, quite simply, you are being spied on, and there’s seemingly nothing you can do about it. Whilst it has now become possible to ensure your data is no longer a Google search result, your interests, hobbies, location, photos, videos, map searches, documents, messages, and all general usage data still belongs to Google.

How Is Google Tracking You?

In a way, you are willingly giving it over to them in accordance with their privacy policy. Whenever you search for anything on the web or create a profile on social media, Google collects this data and uses it to build a detailed advertising profile. This profile will include your gender, age, job industry, and interests, and it will be used to create targeted advertising that is in line with your general tastes.

There are less obvious ways that Google tracks you, too. Namely, its constant presence in your life. If you have a Google app or product anywhere on your person, it is going to be tracking where you go. Have you ever gone on vacation and checked what movies might be playing at the moment? It’s likely that Google has listed showtimes for theatres that are closest to you. That’s because, quite simply, it knows where you are.

Why Is Google Tracking You?

So what is it doing with the information? Well, the first thing to note is that Google is not a data broker, which means your personal information is not going to be sold. But it does use your data to aid third parties. According to the Google Safety Centre, your personal information can be used to help advertisers focus their marketing campaigns, but without identifying you personally.

In terms of what you can do about this, there are inbuilt Google settings that allow you to learn more about the information being collected and even disable personalised ads altogether. As well as this, you can stop your location from being tracked by toggling “Location History” from on to off.

Does It All End With Google?

It must be noted, however, that Google is only the tip of the iceberg. Whenever you click on a site, there are a thousand more trackers that will be harnessing your information and using it for their own marketing purposes. These are known as data brokers, and the method of stopping them is a little more detailed.

But in terms of Google, it might not be tracking you for the nefarious reasons you imagine, but it is tracking you. Thankfully, adjusting your settings can go a way to limit what Google does and keep your own data a little more personal whilst browsing the web.